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The lack of information about the failure of listed companies and their entry to one or other forms of external administration was the driving force behind the development of our main website delisted.com.au.
As early as 2003 we made a submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services identifying many of the issues for shareholders.
Foremost among those issues was the absence of information reaching shareholders about their failed companies, in particular declarations that facilitate the claiming of a loss. Most external administrators had little interest in keeping shareholders apprised.
Were it not for our deListed website, that situation would be probably be unchanged today, with the exception of a few of the more enlightened administrators who do take account of the ongoing interest of shareholders and now publish releases on their websites.
What does external adminstration mean to the shareholder?
The sad reality is that administration almost always heralds the beginning of the end. The entity has failed and shareholders (or unitholders) have lost their investment. Shares are either worthless or at best of nominal value only.
In a few cases the company may eventually be re-structured and re-capitalised and used as a "back door" vehicle to minimise the costs of a new listing. In those cases the corporate shell is of some value but shareholders are savagely diluted and usually end up with about 5% of their existing holding and a parcel of shares worth only a few dollars. They still have to sell those shares to crystallise their capital loss. (More information about the crystallisation of losses is available at our annual Capital Losses webpage.)
Liquidation and deregistration
Once on the slippery slope, companies "progress" from administration or receivership to liquidation. At that point any remaining assets are sold and any proceeds left after fees are distributed to creditors. The company is wound-up and deregistered. It exists no more.