Middle East division of building services group demands adminstrator ‘gets his arse over to the UAE’
PPB Advisory, the administrator of the Hastie Group, which is currently estimated to have debts of £390 million, is now locked in conflict with the firm’s Middle East division.
The remaining managers in the United Arab Emirates have complained that they have been abandoned by their senior management, left with workers facing homelessness and at risk of criminal prosecution due to bounced cheques.
In a dramatic turn of events, Abu Dhabi general manager Darren Hunt told administrator PPB to “get your arse over to the UAE and help us with the situation.”
Mr Hunt told Australian TV channel ABC that the Middle East division is profitable, but that PPB has ignored their offers to help sell assets. The division’s bank account was drained of £2 million three days before the administrators were appointed, leaving no money for wages, and cheques likely to bounce, In the UAE bouncing cheques are liable to criminal prosecution. He said: “There is a humanitarian issue where we have got to accommodate people, we have got to provide food. We’ve got no funds to do that, we’ve got no access to do that and we’ve got no signatures to do that. We are incurring daily expenses to try and make sure we do the right thing by these people.”
But the administrator retorted that the division was not co-operating. “We’ve asked the management over there to articulate exactly what assets they are talking about, but none of that has been forthcoming unfortunately.”
PPB partner Craig Crosbie added that the administrator had no authority to ask the government to step in to protect jobs, as it had in Australia.
In the UK, subsidiary Rotary continues to operate on a business-as-usual basis, while the administrator looks for a buyer for the £147 million turnover group.