Woodhead in Liquidation a Day After GHD Takeover 1

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Friday, April 4th, 2014
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Architecture firm Woodhead has reportedly gone into liquidation just a day after its takeover by engineering consultancy GHD was announced.

No official statement has been released from Woodhead or GHD on the liquidation, but AFR obtained comments from Phil Duthie, GHD’s general manager for Australia and New Zealand.

“All Woodhead clients have been invited to continue as clients of GHD. We look forward to delivering outstanding service to them,” he said.

GHD did not say whether Woodhead clients would receive the same terms the architecture firm had before the takeover, nor did they discuss whether Woodhead employees who were made redundant would receive payment or what would happen with financial liabilities to contractors.

AFFRIC Waurn Ponds, Victoria

Woodhead’s recently completed project, AFFRIC Waurn Ponds, Victoria

Reports are also circling that Woodhead staff were not offered contracts, though a statement regarding the merger revealed a “welcoming” of Woodhead staff to GHD.

The news of the merger earlier this week was one of positive reports designed to strengthen GHD’s position in Australia, supporting the  architecture arm for the engineering consultancy.

GHD released an official statement on its website announcing the acquisition and the “blending of teams in various offices around Australia.”

GHD Engineering Aquires Woodhead

GHD engineering acquires Woodhead

“This follows over a decade of close collaboration between GHD and Woodhead, built on the common values of teamwork, respect and integrity,” said Paul Morris, GHD’s global market leader of property and buildings. “It strengthens our ability to continue to deliver innovative and valuable solutions for our clients, particularly in the Transport, Defence, Workplace and Health sectors.”

Duthie also said the move would be a net positive for the firm.

“This union is a key development in our targeted Property & Buildings growth strategy,” he said. “It combines the significant design experience and skills of both firms in architecture, interior design and master planning services, while drawing on our global network of engineers, scientists, environmental consultants, project managers and economists. We are delighted to welcome Woodhead people to the GHD family.”

Phil Duthie

Phil Duthie, GHD General Manager

Woodhead was estabilished in 1927 in Adelaide while GHD made its Melbourne debut a year later.

Woodhead underwent a restructure in 2011, appointing Angelo Di Marco, and Karl Traeger and Jacqui Preshaw as executive directors alongside Jim Williams.

Angelo Di Marco

Angelo Di Marco, Woodhead Managing Director

In the financial year ending June 2012, the restructuring was said to have contributed to the firm’s $1.4 million profit following a loss of $46,000 the previous year, according to numbers filed with corporate regulator ASIC.

GHD’s annual review revealed the firm was in a stronger financial position in 2013 with a revenue of $AU1.04 billion.

The company forecasts a growth of revenue in North America following its takeover of Canadian firm Conestoga-Rovers & Associates (CRA) last month.

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  1. Tommy Rickson

    Surely there would be laws to prevent escaping of liabilities in these types of circumstances and all outstanding entitlements/monies owed to workers and contractors would have to be paid.