Slump takes toll on cabinet business

ONE of Mount Gambier's largest manufacturing businesses has one month to find a buyer or it will be forced to close its doors and throw 41 people out of work. 

Be-Ray Cabinets was placed into administration yesterday after struggling through a downturn in the housing market.

Employees at the 35-year-old business were stunned with the news that they could lose their jobs. 

Corporate recovery group CliftonHall was appointed yesterday and is yet to release details of how much the manufacturer owes to creditors. 

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Managing director Dean Doody told The Border Watch yesterday the doors would stay open for the next month while the company approached potential buyers.

"Over the next couple of weeks they (the administrators) will be placing the business up for a possible sale," Mr Doody said.

"We're unable to secure a re-financing package to enable us to pay all of our creditors on time and to fund the business adequately - it's business as usual, we are continuing to trade."

He said the company would complete all its current contracts.

The first meeting of creditors will be held on September 10. 

Be-Ray has operated in Mount Gambier since 1978, but the past 18 months have seen the cabinetmaker become a casualty of the collapse in the housing market. 

"The last 18 months have been pretty tough," Mr Doody said. 

Although the manufacturer had secured contracts for the Main Corner and with the Federal Government, the company has been unable to maintain a steady profit.

"At the end of the Building the Education Revolution work with the government schools and the finish of the first home owners grant there was a downturn - a severe drop in the market," the managing director explained. 

"That led to lower work volumes for us." 

Mr Doody, who has served Be-Ray for 21 years, said there had not been any recent redundancies. 

There are 41 workers in full-time and casual positions employed at the factory. 

"We've tried to maintain our employee level and this has created some problems," Mr Doody said.

"If nothing can be found we will have to go into liquidation and that would be very unfortunate for Mount Gambier." 

Despite the news, the business recently secured a contract with the Coleraine Hospital.

"With the contracts we now have in place we are profitable," he said. 

"I hope we can secure a buyer one way or another to enable the company to go on."

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