Style Limited enters administration as building products market struggles

Style Limited, a publicly-listed 'green' building products manufacturer, has been placed in voluntary administration following a decline in the housing construction market.

The Melbourne-based company designs and builds sustainable and renewable bamboo flooring, manufactured using the company's patented 'Style Green Technology'.  

The company placed itself in voluntary administration after it was unable to raise enough capital to continue operating, following the revelation that a $1.3 million loan which it had previously secured from an overseas lender was in fact fraudulent.

The building products manufacturer has directed the matter to the Australian Federal Police, according to the company's secretary, Paul Smith. 

Gess Michael Rambaldi and Andrew Reginald Yeo of Pitcher Partners have been appointed by the Style Limited Board as administrators. The company will continue to operate and serve its customers during the administration, under the guidance of the administrators, Smith said. 

The wood products and furniture sectors have been struggling due to soft demand and the strong Australian dollar.

During March this year, the sectors were partly responsible for a 1.8-point drop in the seasonally-adjusted Performance of Manufacturing (PMI) Index, put together by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Australian Industry Group (Ai Group).

“The relentless pressure from the dollar, weak domestic demand and a flat commercial and residential construction sector continue to inhibit manufacturing performance,” said Ai Group chief executive Innes Willox at the time.

In April, the wood products and furniture sectors once again recorded significant contractions in activity.

However despite the slump, Australian building products manufacturers are fighting to remain afloat.

Austral Bricks supplier Brickworks, which recorded an 18.8% slump in profits for the half-year ending 31 January 2012, has consolidated its operations and is confident that its new direction will help it battle further market contraction.

Similarly, Ceramic tile manufacturer, National Ceramic Industries Australia (NCIA), received a $65 million New South Wales Government approval for a factory expansion plan for its Rutherford-based tile manufacturing facility.

The expansion, announced in February, will see the construction of a second factory at its Centaurus manufacturing plant located in Rutherford in the New South Wales Hunter Valley region, creating an extra 70 jobs.

[Image: Style Limited bamboo flooring, courtesy of Spec-net.com.au]