Chemical maker Qenos sent to administrators with hundreds of jobs in limbo

Matt Mckenzie
The Nightly
2 Min Read
Qenos made plastics.
Qenos made plastics. Credit: doctor-a/Pixabay (user doctor-a)

Plastic manufacturer Qenos has collapsed into administration, with the company’s facility in Botany to be shut down permanently.

Qenos — the country’s key producer of polyethylene and polymers — called in McGrathNicol on Wednesday, according to a filing with the corporate regulator.

The chemical maker had been ultimately owned by China’s SinoChem Holdings and reportedly employed more than 700 people at facilities in Altona in Victoria and Botany in New South Wales.

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But those staff face an uncertain fate. Qenos was recently sold to an entity backed by property fund Logos.

Logos is set to lodge a deed of company deal to pay out staff and remediate the two plants, staff were told.

The Qenos plant in Botany stopped operating in February 2023 after a cooling tower collapse which sparked evacuations.

It’s believed the near-term future of the Altona plant is not yet certain. ExSource, which supplies polymers and chemicals from producers including BASF and Repsol, is expected to keep operating.

There were eight Qenos business units put into administration, with McGrathNicol’s Damien Pasfield, Jason Preston, Matthew Caddy and Jason Ireland appointed.

McGrathNicol’s public relations firm Sefiani was not immediately available to comment.

Credit risk analysis firm CreditSource director Shavantha Mallawa said Quenos’ latest financial statements showed accumulated losses hit a “staggering” $760 million by December 2022.

“The last three years (the losses) were getting steeper” Mr Mallawa said. That had made Qenos’ demise become inevitable, he said.

Working capital had plunged into deficit in 2022.

Qenos had received substantial support from its Chinese parent business, he said. But the most recent statements indicated SinoChem was ready to call those loans.

Mr Mallawa said the administration could have an impact down the supply chain for businesses using the plastic wrapping products.

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