Australia's largest homebuilder Metricon is facing a a tough week with news of crisis talks just days after the death of its chief executive and founder Mario Biasin.
Mr Biasin died suddenly on Monday. In a release, Metricon said the 71-year-old Mr Biasin was experiencing mental health issues.
Like the wider building industry, it is facing mounting material costs and supply issues that have led to 'crisis talks' scheduled for Thursday, according to media reports.
In Ballarat, the company is building homes in Lucas and Alfredton Grove.
Metricon is the largest home builder in Victoria and Queensland, and has a high profile in NSW and South Australia. The company employs around 2500 staff in Australia's eastern states and has over 4000 houses under construction.
A confidential source told The Courier warnings were issued about Metricon's future on Tuesday, particularly within the state government, one of the builders largest clients, and the need to minimise risk with any future contracts.
In 2018 Metricon Homes Pty Ltd paid $50,400 in penalties after ASIC issued four infringement notices for misleading advertising aimed at first home buyers.
The home builder last year sought to renegotiate building contracts where initial time frames had run out, to account for higher costs in some areas, including Queensland. But it then reversed the move and is completing the homes at the original costs.
Director and general manager of Victoria Peter Langfelder has been appointed as acting CEO.
Mr Langfelder told the Herald Sun there was no basis to the rumours.
"Metricon is a strong viable business without any solvency problem," he said.
"We are dealing with 'business as usual' issues sensitively because of Mario's sudden and untimely death."
Director and major shareholder Ross Palazzesi will continue as acting executive chair.
Just 24 hours after Mr Biasin's death, Metricon has embarked on a series of advertorials with the Times News Group across regional Victoria.
"Metricon's dedicated Ballarat team are on hand to help every step of the way and our display homes showcase what really is possible when building a new dream home, whether that be in a new estate or a knock down new build, here in booming Ballarat," one advertorial said.
Metricon is not the only builder to face financial trouble in recent times, with several going into liquidation earlier this year, including Privium, Condev, ABG Group and Probuild. A host of smaller builders have also collapsed.
The building industry has been warning of a looming crash in the home construction sector for some time, with rising material costs, COVID-19 shutdowns, supply problems and labour shortages blamed for the rising tide of disaster.
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