Tech firm on brink of collapse owing $37m


An Australian tech company backed by one of the largest banks is on the brink of collapse after appointing administrators with debts of nearly $40 million.

Plutora Pty Ltd went into voluntary administration in March over a dispute with the tax office and has more than $37 million in liabilities.

The business continues to trade and three other related companies linked to the group have not been affected.

Plutora offers software to clients to speed up software delivery process and has offices in Sydney but moved its main headquarters to the USA’s Silicon Valley in 2014.

Most of Plutora’s debt, $31 million, is made up of an amount owed to a related company.

But a further $900,000 is owed to the Australian Tax Office (ATO), the appointed administrator, Sule Arnautovic from restructuring firm Salea Advisory, told news.com.au.

On top of that, $260,000 is owed to past and present employees from superannuation, long service leave and annual leave while $5 million is owed to secured creditors. Trade suppliers are owed $150,000.

Plutora is in a fight with the ATO over research and development grants it previously received, which came with tax rebates.

Plutora Australia has gone into administration with liabilities of $37.3 million.

According to documents submitted to the corporate regulator and sighted by news.com.au, Plutora has 11 current employees including its director. The highest amount owed is $41,000.

There are 14 ex-employees who are each owed about $1000 in unpaid superannuation.

Plutora’s co-founder and chief executive, Dalibor Siroky, is hopeful his business can turn its fortunes around.

“The process for the Plutora Australia is ongoing,” Mr Siroky told news.com.au.

“It’s business as usual – continuing operations. I’m confident we will find a resolution.”

Affiliate companies Plutora UK, Plutora US and Plutora Holdings are not in administration.

Another matter at issue is a substantial backer of Plutora.

Macquarie Bank poured in $US13.4 million ($A18.5 million at the time) into Plutora in 2016, according to the company’s website, which noted it was a “monumental investment”.

The Australian Financial Review reported that the bank went through another round of investment in 2019, which totalled $A27.4 million.

This brought the total figure to $46 million.

According to the publication, this gave Macquarie Bank a 45 per cent stake in Plutora and caused the tech darling to fall foul of the tax office.

Macquarie’s large share of Plutora meant that it was largely in control of the business and as a result both companies’ tax obligations should have been considered together.

Do you know more or have a similar story? Get in touch | alex.turner-cohen@news.com.au

Plutora’s offices in California, which are not impacted by the administration.

The Australian Financial Review reported that Macquarie’s $46 million stake in the company was sold back for just $1 to Plutora’s director, Mr Siroky.

Mr Siroky told news.com.au these numbers were “completely inaccurate” but did not elaborate.

At the time of his appointment as administrator, Mr Arnautovic noted Macquarie was neither a known creditor nor a shareholder of Plutora.

It comes as the “tech wreck” continues to wreak havoc across the world.

A number of software companies have carried out mass redundancies as the economic downturn impacts their profitability.

Last year, ASX-listed software firm Xero announced that it was going to reduce its headcount by 700 to 800 roles, which was 15 per cent of the company’s total workforce.

Just two days prior to the announcement, another major Aussie software company, Atlassian, also slashed hundreds of jobs.

The technology giant cut 500 roles, representing a cut of five per cent of its total global workforce.

Then software firm called Thoughtworks, with offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, laid off 100 employees, which was four per cent of their number of staff.

Earlier this year, news.com.au reported that another technology company that was the darling of the banking world had collapsed into liquidation.

Lygon, which received backing from ANZ, CBA, Westpac, IBM and Scentre Group, went into liquidation with debts of $14.3 million.

alex.turner-cohen@news.com.au



Read More: Tech firm on brink of collapse owing $37m

2024-04-02 00:57:01

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