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Another Aussie parts-maker hits strife

Parts problems: Supplier APV Automotive Components is in receivership, throwing another cloud over the local car industry.

APV Automotive Components placed in receivership after redundancy talks stall

General News logo10 Apr 2012

By RON HAMMERTON

ANOTHER Australian car parts-maker has hit a financial speed bump, with Victorian-based APV Automotive Components being placed in the hands of receivers.

The supplier of parts such as fuel fillers and rear suspension struts to all three Australian car manufacturers slipped into external administration today after failing to reach agreement on an affordable voluntary redundancy program and a new enterprise agreement.

All 126 employees at its Coburg operation will be stood down without pay when they return from a scheduled Easter-week holiday, as the company does not have sufficient money to meet payroll and other costs.

However, receivers Stephen Longley and Nicholas Martin of PPB Advisory hope to restructure the business so operations can resume as soon as possible.

The receivers plan to hold urgent talks with the car companies, employees, the Australian Metal Workers’ Union and suppliers to try to salvage the operation.

GoAuto understands that the car companies have been supportive of the ailing parts-maker which has been battered by the decline of locally made vehicles such as the Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore.

80 center imageThe car companies want to see the operation continue, as the parts are crucial to local car production in the short to medium term.

Apart from the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) component supply operation, APV also makes a range of aftermarket accessories such as bullbars, as well as a range of safety products such as Klippan aftermarket seat belts and child seats.

Last year, after the company bought a slice of the former Autoliv safety products operation, APV was restructured into four divisions – the OEM parts-maker APV Automotive Components, APV Safety Products, APV Engineering and Testing Services and APV Vehicle Solutions.

The latest problems appear to involve only the automotive components division, where future operations appear to hinge on finding agreement with the workers and union to downsize and restructure to a more viable size.

The safety products business, which includes the former Autoliv independent crash test centre at Campbellfield, in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, is run as a separate operation and apparently is financially sound.

Apart from the Coburg factory, APV – which stands for Australian Performance Vehicles – also has a plant in Queensland making accessories.

According to APV’s web site, the company makes steering systems, suspension systems, fuel and fluid systems and fabricated components, for both local and export consumption.

It says these components are made on state-of-the-art production equipment, which can turn out, for example, 4000 suspension arms a day.

If the company cannot be saved, it will contribute to the offshore flow of Victorian manufacturing jobs from companies such as Autoliv – which one at 1000 workers making seatbelts and airbags in Melbourne – and Bosch, which last year announced that three-quarters of its local manufacturing would be moved overseas.

Apart from the receivers, voluntary liquidators also have been appointed to APV – Ross Blakeley and Andrew Schwarz.

Law firm HWL Ebsworth has been engaged by the receivers to help with the external administration process.

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