More than 50 workers have been left without jobs after high profile Ballina company, Kimberley Kampers, was placed into liquidation.
More than 50 workers have been left without jobs after high profile Ballina company, Kimberley Kampers, was placed into liquidation. Marc Stapelberg

REVEALED: The company that could save Kimberley Kampers

UPDATE, 2.20pm: FORMER director of Kimberley Kampers Bruce Loxton has revealed Australia's biggest caravan manufacturer Jayco offered the buy the Ballina business a few years ago.

Amid speculation over whether the Kimberley brand might still have a future with the right buyer, Mr Loxton confirmed Jayco had shown serious interest in the company.

Gerry Ryan, the Australian rich lister who built Jayco into a $500 million company, apparently offered to snap up Kimberley in 2014.

But there was a condition he put on the sale which Mr Loxton couldn't abide by.

"He said I'd buy it off you provided you move it to Melbourne," Mr Loxton said.

"He gave me an offer in 2014.

"I didn't approach him, he approached me."

"But I just said no."

Mr Loxton explained that Mr Ryan didn't want a separate premises in another state and the relocaton of Kimberley's headquarters to Jayco's base in Dandenong in Melbourne was non-negotiable.

But Mr Loxton said his employees in Ballina were like an "extended family" and he knew they wouldn't be interested in moving to Victoria.

He even commented that some of them had come from Victoria originally - "to escape the cold weather".

It's unknown whether Jayco might still be interested in acquiring Kimberley's assets now, but Mr Ryan, whose net worth was estimated at $473 million last year, stepped back from the business in late 2015.

 

Original story: A SMALL group of former Kimberley Kampers employees are being paid to complete unfinished campervans at the now defunct business.

Kimberley's liquidator, Gold Coast insolvency firm SV Partners, has told The Northern Star that five employees have been contracted to complete four to five units.

It's unclear how the former employees will be paid given all 50-plus employees at the business, some who had worked there for more than 10 years, were terminated last Wednesday afternoon when the business announced with no prior warning that it was heading into liquidation.

In a statement, SV Partners' Matthew Bookless said the liquidators were now assessing options to maximise the realisation value of the company's assets.

"Options on the table include a sale of the business in one line or a sale of assets by way of auction," Mr Bookless said.

If it was ever to continue from its home in the Ballina Industrial Estate the assets would need to be sold in one piece.

But at this stage it is unclear of how much debt the company is carrying and what money creditors can hope to receive. These figures are likely to influence whether there is a willing buyer for the business as a whole.

Mr Bookless said outstanding entitlements owed to the employees such as redundancy, long service leave and annual leave were able to be claimed through the Federal Government's Fair Entitlement Guarantee scheme.

Superannuation is not covered under the FEG.

Mr Bookless also refuted a rumour that Kimberley director Todd Cannock withdrew $100,000 from the company account prior to the announcement of the liquidation.

"Those funds are held by the liquidators in the liquidation account," Mr Bookless said.