Canterbury house builder fails owing $1.2m: new list of creditors out from liquidator

A Canterbury housebuilder owned by a former chairman of an NZX listed business has failed owing $1.2 million and today its creditors have been named.

Insolvency practitioner Murray Allott is liquidating First Design & Build which previously traded as David Reid Homes Canterbury.

First Design is insolvent and had last year sold its rights to the David Reid brand but carried on in the house-building sector, Allott noted.

Christopher John Swann of Dunedin is First Design’s sole director. He also owns the company along with CIS Nominees whose address is the same as his.

Swann was previously a director of NZX listed cancer diagnostics business Pacific Edge which he also chaired but that company said today he had left some years ago.

Allott said today no houses were under construction at the time First Design & Build failed.

Swann was also cited on David Reid’s website as a chartered accountant. He is a director of Southern Capital and former chairman of the Waitaki District Health Services which he left two years ago.

He chaired Pacific Edge until 2016, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Allott’s report said First Design, registered in 2012, had accumulated losses of just over $1.2m.

The failure was due to it being funded by so much debt.

A creditor issued a statutory demand for an outstanding debt, a compromise proposal was put to creditors to try to avoid liquidation but Allott said creditors had rejected that and he was appointed.

Assets are estimated at $38,032 but debts are claimed against those assets.

“The company’s fixed assets are subject to encumbrances totalling $1,134,230,” Allott noted.

His first liquidator’s report said a search of the Personal Property Securities Register at the time the liquidation started recorded the list of secured creditors.

They are PlaceMakers Christchurch, Fisher & Paykel Appliances, Mico New Zealand, the Bank of New Zealand, Ricoh New Zealand, Goldpine Industries, Macready Building Supplies, Harrison Bloy Plumbing & Bathrooms, VFL Securities, Dyers Road Timber, Oakleys Plumbing Supplied, Millbrook Kitchens, Hagley Building Products, Dores for Floors, Prime Joinery and trustees of the Cannington Road Trust.

The total owing to secured creditors is $1,290,948.

Debts owing to preferential creditors were put at $24,000 but unsecured creditors is a much longer list and they are owed $781,381.

A far longer list of all creditors – secured and unsecured – named a number of state entities and national businesses.

Accident Compensation Corporation, Envirowaste Services, NZ Post, Metalcraft Roofing, David Reid Homes, Avon Plastering, the Christchurch City Council, Meridian Energy, Simply Wardrobes, Warehouse Stationery, Superloo Sanitation, Sign Network, Waterford Press, Xero, Z Energy and WynnWilliams appeared at the back of Allott’s report.

Allott said the company had failed because it had in part relied on debt facilities to fund its activities.

Swann told Allott he had sought advice on the company’s financial position following getting the statutory demand for an outstanding debt.

Swann was quoted on David Reid Homes’ website in 2017, along with general manager Chris Solly, about the post-earthquake recovery in Canterbury.

He was then David Reid franchise director and said the team had come out of the Christchurch rebuild phase.

In general terms, there were a lot of the older houses in Christchurch which had been demolished and new homes had appeared, Swann and Solly said then.

“The earthquake hasn’t changed the style of our homes, but it has changed structural elements … in terms of look and feel we are still building the same sorts of houses,” they said at the time.

The Canterbury team prided itself on being able to design and build homes that fit perfectly with what their client has asked for, they said.

“Dealing with customers on designing their dream home; it’s such a large purchase for anybody, and you’re involved in designing something for them that meets their needs.

“To walk them through that process, at the end of the day the ultimate is delivering a house that exceeds the expectations of our clients,” the pair said then.

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