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ACL Bearings back to work

Bearing up: Toyota is one of two manufacturers depending on continued supply of parts from ACL.

Production as usual at Toyota and Ford as parts maker seeks aid and new owner

General News logo31 Aug 2009

PRODUCTION stoppages at Toyota and Ford’s Australian manufacturing operations have been averted by a return to work by Tasmanian automotive components supplier ACL, buoyed by the likelihood of government assistance and prospects for a new owner.

The company, which owns factories in Launceston and Brisbane employing up to 300 workers, was placed into voluntary administration last Wednesday (August 26), when receiver and manager Grant Thornton was appointed by Ford Australia, a secured lender to the company.

Grant Thornton co-director Matt Byrnes this week told GoAuto that both the Tasmanian and Australian governments would support ACL financially while the company was restructured and a new owner sought.

“The important thing that has happened over the last few days is we’ve had meetings and discussions with both state and federal government and they’ve expressed their keen interest in assisting ACL through this process,” said Mr Byrnes.

“We haven’t got down to nuts and bolts of what that assistance might look like, but we’ve certainly had high-level discussion in which both state and federal levels of government have indicated their support and their desire to assist ACL.

“We’re due to have further discussions with state and federal ministers over the next two weeks.”

 center imageMr Byrnes said production at ACL was now back in full swing, with supply lines to both Ford and Toyota fully reinstated.

“Other than on day one, there hasn’t been any stop work. We’ve got the support of the workers and the union and we’re continuing to receive and meet orders,” he said, adding that a new owner had yet to be sought for ACL.

“We’ve had interest from a number of parties, but ACL is not saleable in its current form so really our focus is to review it and to assess how we can get it into a viable form – and then we can have meaningful talks with those interested parties.

“We’re not rushing to locate buyers as you might often see in cases like this. That will happen once we’ve managed to review and restructure ACL.”

Mr Byrnes said the restructuring process would take a number of weeks.

“As you often see in circumstances like this where an external administrator comes in and seeks a wind-down scenario, but that’s not the case here.

“It’s not a short-term approach. We are looking at a more orderly approach to ACL’s position and as part of that we’re conducting a comprehensive review of all aspects of the ACL group.

“Following that obviously we’ll be looking at what decisions need to be made to ensure that ACL can continue viably into the future,” said Mr Byrnes.

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