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Australian building giant Probuild has been placed into voluntary administration with hundreds of jobs set to be lost and thousands of contractors left hanging.

Worksites around the country have been locked down, with many tradies unable to even access their tools trapped inside.  

The shutdown comes after its South African parent company Wilson Bayly Holmes-Ovcon, based in Johannesburg, pulled further funding after project costs blew out.

Probuild raked in $1.3billion in revenue last year – but made just $4million profit, and is now said to be facing losses running into hundreds of millions.

In a statement, the company said accounting company Deloitte will serve as administrators after parent group WBHO withdrew financial assistance. 

A Probuild spokesman said: ‘We are caught up in a set of circumstances not of our making.

Australian building giant Probuild is on the verge of collapse after a disastrous high rise project in Brisbane dragged it into millions in debt

Australian building giant Probuild is on the verge of collapse after a disastrous high rise project in Brisbane dragged it into millions in debt

Australian building giant Probuild is on the verge of collapse after a disastrous high rise project in Brisbane dragged it into millions in debt

The 264 high-quality residential apartments (pictured) in Brisbane's Queen Street has haemorrhaged as much as $120million

The 264 high-quality residential apartments (pictured) in Brisbane's Queen Street has haemorrhaged as much as $120million

The 264 high-quality residential apartments (pictured) in Brisbane’s Queen Street has haemorrhaged as much as $120million

‘We are working closely with the administrator on a number of plans to protect our clients, subcontractors and employees.

‘The Probuild brand is strong and we intend to keep it that way. We have several options for raising the necessary capital to continue as a premium Australian building company. These will all be pursued.’ 

Deloitte has taken over control of 18 different companies linked to Probuild which employ hundreds of workers and a network of tradies across the country.

A $300million deal to sell Probuild to a Chinese company was axed a year ago after treasurer Josh Frydenburg stepped in to veto it on the grounds of national security. 

The company is said to have been locked into huge fixed price contracts based on pre-Covid costs – but has been hit by massive price rises since signing the deals.

The cost increases – including materials, employment and Covid shutdown expenses and protocols – wiped out profit margins and left developments running at a loss. 

PROBUILD PROJECTS 

Victoria  Police HQ (46 levels)

CSL global HQ Melbourne

Exchange at Curtin University 

Greenland Centre, Sydney’s tallest residential building

VUT Building (29 lev) Melbourne

UNO Melbourne (65 lev residential)

Caulfield Village

The Ribbon Darling Harbour – W Hotel and Imax

443 Queen Street Brisbane

Western United Stadium, Tarneit 

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On Wednesday, tradies were told to stop work at the 443 Queen Street construction site in Brisbane when the company called in administrators in a last-ditch attempt to save itself.

The project involved 264 high-quality residential apartments but has haemorrhaged as much as $120million.

Workers at the site said construction has been plagued by delays for the past two years and contractors were owed unpaid bills of up to $250,000.

Tradies were seen packing up and taking their equipment off the site on Wednesday after being told it would be shut down at 5pm.

‘We were just told to pick out tools up because Probuild were pulling the pin on all their projects across Australia,’ one told the Courier Mail

 A tradie said the company he works for is owed at least $250,000, while other sub-contractors are believed to be owed significantly more.

‘It is going to run into the millions what tradies are owed,’ he said.

Probuild is reportedly contacting administrators as a result of the extreme financial hardship with hopes of saving the project. 

 The future of the build in the heart of Brisbane’s CBD is in doubt. 

Touted as the nation’s first subtropical designed building, the riverfront complex has cost the company’s Queensland arm, PCA QLD, more than $28million, with sources estimating it could be up to $120million. 

Tradies were seen packing up and taking their equipment off the site on Wednesday after being told it would be shut down at 5pm

Tradies were seen packing up and taking their equipment off the site on Wednesday after being told it would be shut down at 5pm

Tradies were seen packing up and taking their equipment off the site on Wednesday after being told it would be shut down at 5pm

Pictured: An artistic impression of the 443 Queen Street construction project

Pictured: An artistic impression of the 443 Queen Street construction project

Pictured: An artistic impression of the 443 Queen Street construction project 

Probuild Constructions (Aust) reportedly injected $15million into the company last year as part of a recapitalisation to combat the Queensland division’s losses. 

The company, which operates in Victoria, NSW, Western Australia, and Queensland, has more than 520 employees and thousands of apartments currently under construction.

The bulk of the projects, which also includes more than 370,000 square metres of retail work, are in Melbourne where the head office is based.

CHINESE SALE AXED BY AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT 

A $300million deal to sell Probuild to a Chinese company was axed a year ago after treasurer Josh Frydenburg stepped in to veto it on the grounds of national security. 

With Probuild’s Australian projects including the new Victoria Police HQ and biotech firm CSL’s Australian HQ, the government blocked China State Construction Engineering Corporation’s bid because of its links to the Chinese defence industry. 

The government said the sale was against the national interests and added: ‘Probuild was a significant player in a sector that was critical to the country’s economic and social wellbeing.’

Probuild reacted furiously to the government intervention in January 2021, which could have been a vital lifeline to safeguard its future.

‘It’s more politics than it is anything else, Probuild executibe chairman Simon Gray said at the time. 

‘No one can give us real reason why we’re a national security risk. It’s a joke.’

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Probuild is currently developing a new 18-storey block in Melbourne’s Elizabeth North, which will be the new headquarters of biotech giant CSL.

It is also the firm behind the 1000 Latrobe office tower in the Docklands and a build-to-rent development at Caulfield Village.

In Sydney, the company is building W Hotel on Darling Harbour and an apartment complex in Macquarie Park.

Construction is also underway in Perth for The Towers at Elizabeth Quay. 

Daily Mail Australia has contacted Probuild for comment.  

The riverfront complex has been touted as the nation's first subtropical designed building

The riverfront complex has been touted as the nation's first subtropical designed building

The riverfront complex has been touted as the nation’s first subtropical designed building

Source: DailyMail

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