Stonewood Homes assets bought

Left to right: Clint Webber, Michael Chow and John Chow (supplied)
Left to right: Clint Webber, Michael Chow and John Chow (supplied)

Stonewood Homes has been sold after going into receivership last month, with remaining employees offered new contracts.

Property magnates the Chow Brothers and corporate finance specialist Clint Webber have bought the troubled Stonewood Homes assets - which includes Christchurch-based Stonewood Homes New Zealand Limited and Sterling Homes Limited (Christchurch).

The brothers and Mr Webber met with all 44 remaining employees and offered them new contracts.

Receivers Grant Graham and Neale Jackson of KordaMentha made the announcement this morning.

The prompt sale was the best outcome under the circumstances, Mr Grant says.

"The successful completion of this sale will provide much-needed certainty regarding the individual status of each build and confirm the way forward for all affected parties, including staff," he says.

Operations manager for Canterbury Siteworks Limited Daniel Hicks says the fallout from Stonewood Homes being made redundant has affected his young family and the running of his company. He was contracted by the company for excavation work. 

Mr Hicks says he is owed around $50,000, plus another $40,000 of work already in progress. He had to let an employee go last month because of the financial pressure from money not coming in. There are now four in the company including himself.

"It's been a huge hit to us," he says.  

"Everyone there's been good to deal with, its just the money coming in the door, missing payments...which has made it quite hard."

"All of this year's been a bit of a struggle just trying to pay bills and make things happen," he says. 

Mr Hicks says he feels let down by the company but was pleased to hear it had been purchased, although he is cautious not to rely on Stonewood. 

"Hopefully we get a chance to go in there and finish those foundations off and hopefully get paid some of that money," he says.

"We will carry on trading as we are and trying to do the best we can to move forward."

Contractor Daniel Hicks (Thomas Mead)

John Chow says Stonewood complements their office, retail, accommodation, and car park property portfolio.

The brothers and Mr Webber say they're committed to turning Stonewood around and regaining customer and supplier trust.

"This purchase signals our clear intention to repair recent damage to the brand and to re-establish the Stonewood brand nationally on a very firm footing."

The group says the next step is to engage with customers who have uncompleted homes, adding it's "vital" they provide those affected some certainty.

Michael Chow says he, his brother and Mr Webber were keenly aware of the profoundly negative downstream commercial implications from Stonewood's collapse for countless businesses directly and indirectly  throughout the Canterbury region.

"It's critically important the brand survives in order to reinstate confidence in the region's rebuild and overall recovery effort," he says.

"As well-capitalised businessmen, with scale and proven commercial success across numerous market sectors, we are well positioned to deliver what the Canterbury market in particular needs right now.":

The receivers are currently working with the group during the contract transfer process. The purchasers have the right to take over all customer contracts.

Should they not want a certain contract, the receivers will continue to work with Registered Master Builders Association to have the Master Build guarantee honoured.

Stonewood customers should expect to be contacted in the coming days by the group, who are looking to finish as many as possible but taking it case-by-case.