Small businesses face ruin following Stonewood collapse

Small businesses face ruin following Stonewood collapse

There's no money in the kitty for hundreds of businesses fighting for a piece of the Stonewood Homes liquidation.

The failed Canterbury building company owes nearly $20 million to 400 unsecured creditors. There were no smiles at a Stonewood Homes liquidation meeting on Friday.

Just 30 of the 400 contractors and businesses owed money turned up to receive the inevitable news.

"There's nothing for us, there's nothing for us," says John Cooper of Flo-Rite Drainage. "It's a pretty big hit for us, you're talking quarter of a million dollars, really."

Stonewood, once one of the biggest building companies in the country, went bust in February.

The brand and assets were sold, and the money raised was paid to secured creditors.

In all, $20 million is still owed to smaller contractors and businesses, who are now all out of pocket.

"They're not going to get anything out of the sale proceeds, they're going to be reliant on what our investigation reveals is recoverable," says Ernst and Young liquidator Rhys Cain.

Ernst and Young were left to comb through Stonewood's books, searching for anyone paid unlawfully during the company's dying months.

"There are 400 odd creditors here, and it's our job to make sure certain creditors haven't received preferential treatment above others," says Mr Cain.

For John Cooper it could mean a double blow if he has to provide a refund the liquidator.

"If they claim any payments from me, it'll screw me mate," he says.

This could have far-reaching implications. Newshub spoke to one excavation company still owed $80,000. It has run out of money, can't pay its bills, and is looking at walking away. And others could follow.