CQ Steel Industries has a fabrication workshop at Parkhurst, employing 20 staff.
CQ Steel Industries has a fabrication workshop at Parkhurst, employing 20 staff.

How CQ business survived losing $500K when firm collapsed

BACK in 2010, Tony Wust copped a loss of half a million to his business after a company he did work for went into liquidation.

It really opened the owner of CQ Steel Industries' eyes up to insolvency and how liquidations work.

"It was pretty difficult for a period of time but we got through that," Mr Wust said.

The money was for a contract involved with Curragh mine.

"I was disappointed I even got involved with them in the end," he said.

"It wasn't the first bad debt but it was the first big one.

"It's one I never forget and it makes me very cautious who I work for nowadays.

"They had a nice job and nice design, we went into it head first and I didn't do enough paperwork."

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It was a real lesson for Mr Wust who has owned the Parkhurst business for 18 years now.

"Fortunately our business was strong enough to continue on, sometimes I wonder how we did it," he said.

"We just had to keep the work going through and trade our way through it.

"We did end up a bit slow to pay people at times but we kept the work going through and made sure it was profitable."

CQ Steel Industries owner Tony Wust
CQ Steel Industries owner Tony Wust

Mr Wust estimated that over the years he had lost $18,000 in other bad debt across four jobs.

He is now careful of what customers he allows credit management for.

Mr Wust said he was surprised to hear the news of Pierce Engineering going into administration in February earlier this year.

Following involvement from a voluntary administrator, it was announced six weeks later the firm was able to continue to trade, accepting a director's proposal to avoid liquidation.

This was a reality check for Mr Wust.

"That was a reminder for me. It can happen to anyone, no matter how good you are at what you do, how good you are at business and how strong you are," he said.

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CQ Steel Industries is owed $8,613.80 from Busby Contracting that went into liquidation in 2018.

It was revealed last week the liquidation would be wound up and there was no money to pay the $4.8m outstanding debt.

Mr Wust said he would be chalking this figure up to another bad debt and it was just what comes and goes in the construction industry.

"I don't see it getting it any better or worse," he said.