News State Victoria News Metricon boss denies reports of insolvency

Metricon boss denies reports of insolvency

Metricon staff talk to Prime Minister Scott Morrison at a site in Brisbane. Photo: AAP
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The boss of construction giant Metricon Homes has fronted the media to deny it is about to collapse, following reports it is teetering on the brink of insolvency.

Metricon’s chief executive Peter Langfelder said there was “no basis” to the rumours that emerged this week, following the sudden death of the company’s founder, 71-year-old Mario Biasin.

Mr Langfelder admitted that Metricon was having a “tough time” following Mr Biasin’s death on Monday, and said it also faced similar struggles to other construction businesses. But he said it remained “strong and viable”.

“This is an extremely difficult time for our business, we’ve just lost the CEO and co-founder only on Monday, so we’re dealing with the grief,” he said.

He repeated his assertion that Metricon – Australia’s biggest home builder – is not insolvent.

“We’ve got a strong history of performance, all our contracts in place are profitable, we’re completely up to date with all our trades, our suppliers, our employees, commissions, everything is completely up to date,” Mr Langfelder said.

“In terms of our business, it’s just business as usual.

“Our business has been very strong for 45 years and will continue to [be] for a long, long time to come.”

Earlier on Thursday, company representatives met Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas. The agenda of the meeting, which had reportedly been scheduled for some days, was not made public.

The Victorian government is one of Metricon Homes’ biggest clients. The company has a $12 million contract to build social housing in Victoria, as well as 4000 houses under construction across Australia’s east coast.

Afterward, Mr Pallas said Metricon told the government that “all its trade creditors have been paid in full and on time and Metricon expects this to continue”.

The state government would continue to talk to Metricon and other companies in the sector about factors affecting the industry, Mr Pallas said.

“We understand the pressure on builders on the eastern seaboard due to increases in costs, and the impacts this is having on the construction industry and residential clients,” he said.

“The government will continue to work constructively with the industry to help address these challenges.”

Mr Langfelder noted Metricon, which employs about 2500 staff across Australia’s east coast, was still reeling following Mr Biasin’s sudden death earlier this week. He leaves behind a wife and four children.

“I ask for patience and consideration from our customers whilst our executives and staff deal with their loss,” he said.

“We are focused on the business running as smoothly as possible, servicing all our customers and continuing to get homes to site and completed on time.”

The ABC is reporting that federal Labor figures also met building industry representatives early on Thursday to discuss the issues facing Metricon.

“What’s getting worse, what’s really biting for companies like Metricon and others at the moment, is the area of skill shortages,” Shadow Housing Minister Jason Clare said.

“Whether it is skilled workers on site or whether it is labourers, this is something that everyone I speak to in this sector is worried about.”

Master Builders Victoria was “very optimistic” about the future of Australia’s largest home building company, MBV chief executive Rebecca Casson said.

“It is incumbent on everyone not to join in with the rumour narrative, especially during this incredibly challenging time,'” Ms Casson said in a statement.

“Now, more than ever, it is vital that our industry sticks together and supports each other. ”

Metricon’s rumoured troubles come as the construction sector faces rising insolvencies because of cost increases due to global supply chain issues.

Earlier this year, another major builder, ProBuild, also collapsed.

-with AAP