Publishers Australia heads into administration

By AdNews | 18 September 2014

Trade press association Publishers Australia has entered into voluntary administration. The news comes as no surprise given its dwindling membership and the headwinds facing publishers.

Focal Attractions, which publishes Mumbrella and runs the Publishers Australia awards, gave the association a $50,000 credit line earlier this year. However, the association, founded 50 years ago, decided to call in the administrators to thrash out agreements with creditors to resolve debt built up over several years.

When the deal with Focal Attractions was struck, then Chairman Geoff Hird was upfront about the challenges publishers face. “Everyone knows it’s a tough time to be in publishing,” he said. Hird stepped down last month.

Incoming chairman Ash Hunter said the Excellence Awards were “entirely unaffected” by the decision and that by calling in the administrator, Publishers Australia would “hopefully provide a stronger company into the future.”

Moore Stephens is the administrator. It is thought that the association is seeking purely to reach agreement with creditors rather than try to find a buyer.

Publishers Australia's website claims it has a around 140 members, although that includes freelancers and suppliers.

A spokesperson would not be drawn on the level of debt, thought to be less than seven figures, nor the number of creditors.

The not-for-profit company issued the following statement attributed to Ash Hunter:

"After careful consideration and professional advice, the Board of Publishers Australia has made the decision to put Publishers Australia into voluntary administration. The company in recent years has not performed well financially and has residual debt. The appointment of the voluntary administrator will provide a mechanism to restructure the company and hopefully provide a stronger company into the future.

Prior to the appointment of the administrator, the Board entered into an agreement with Focal Attractions to prepare and hold the annual Excellence Awards which have been launched and are entirely unaffected by this process. The administrator is continuing to trade the business of the company and is working with Focal Attractions. 

We believe that the tough decisions already made will build a much stronger and more relevant association for all publishers."

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