Gavin Morton, of insolvency firm Morton & Lee, was appointed administrators of Wacol-based Sharp Plywood last week. The company, which employed about 17 people, manufactured veneers and panels for kitchens, furniture, commercial fit outs, panels and doors.
Gavin Morton, of insolvency firm Morton & Lee, was appointed administrators of Wacol-based Sharp Plywood last week. The company, which employed about 17 people, manufactured veneers and panels for kitchens, furniture, commercial fit outs, panels and doors.

Rescue plan for troubled 75-year-old building firm

A 75-year-old Brisbane building products firm whose work is seen in iconic public buildings around the state has called in administrators amid rising competition from cheap Chinese imports. But a rescue plan has been hatched that could see the business continue to operate.

Gavin Morton, of insolvency firm Morton & Lee, was appointed administrators of Wacol-based Sharp Plywood last week. The company, which employed about 17 people, manufactured veneers and panels for kitchens, furniture, commercial fit outs, panels and doors.

But in recent years, the firm founded by Jack Sharp in 1945, has struggled against a rising tide of Chinese imports.

Sharp provided the wood panelling for the Queensland court complex in Brisbane.
Sharp provided the wood panelling for the Queensland court complex in Brisbane.

The family-operated company, now run by Jack Sharp's son Rodney, has completed projects including the wood panelling in the Brisbane Supreme and District Court complex and the Abedian School of Architecture at Bond University.

Mr Morton said a separate entity was continuing to operate the business from the Wacol site, which is owned by the Sharp Plywood. He said this could allow the business to continue to operate after the end of the administration and creditors were paid.

He said the company's directors called in administrations after a fellow director launched a winding up action in the Supreme Court seeking a compulsory acquisition of her shares in the business. He said the company, whose revenue had fallen in recent years, owed unsecured creditors about $900,000, the Australian Tax Office about $1 million and employers approximately $360,000.

While the majority of building materials are manufactured in Australia, China has emerged as a major source of imports in the past decade. In the last half of 2019, building products including tapware, steel, wood and glass valued at $2.7 billion were imported from China.

Originally published as Rescue plan for troubled 75-year-old Brisbane building firm


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