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Tuesday 4 December 2012

We lost our battle.

Sadly I have had to appoint a liquidator to Skelton Sherborne this afternoon.

The Deloitte receivership conducted on behalf of HSBC has been catastrophic to the company's future viability. Despite the great efforts of my amazing team to save the company post the receivership, we deemed it could not be successfully salvaged while the bank accounts, debtor book and statutory refunds were kept under the control of Deloitte. Effectively Skelton Sherborne's cash flow was cut off and as a consequence the company became insolvent. As a director I was compelled to appoint a liquidator.

Therefore Anne Meagher and Terry Rose of SV Partners have been appointed and will proceed to wind up the company. I am no longer in charge of the company's affairs. SV Partners office phone number is +61 7 33102000. They will soon be in touch with all clients and creditors.

I know many of our clients have been hurt and inconvenienced by what has occurred with Skelton Sherborne these past two weeks. I am sorry that we were not in a position while Deloitte were in charge to achieve the right outcomes for you with your cargo. For any clients with cargo stored with us at our Brisbane Terminal, we ask that you make arrangements to promptly collect it. There will be a skeleton staff staying on with the company to assist you and the liquidators for a short time with this and to help clients with cargo still on the water.

To my crew. Thank you! You have been awesome and I am shattered for you and your families that this company could not survive. The loss of your jobs so close to Christmas is dreadful. I am so sorry! I think we can honestly say we did our level best though. The professionalism and commitment you have displayed to our clients, suppliers and each other in very challenging circumstances has been truly inspirational and helped keep me going and fighting hard everyday. I am deeply touched that such was your determination for this great company to survive that you all volunteered your time and expertise these past two days without pay. I could not dream of more support than this and I want everyone to know what you did. I am sorry I have let you down in the end.

I am in disbelief that such a good and profitable company with a great track record can lose the support of it's bankers and end up in this position with so many innocent people hurt along the way. I am sorry to the people Skelton Sherborne owes money to and any hardship this has already caused you and may in the future as the liquidation proceeds.

Thank you for the tremendous support the team and I received from so many people.

This is a setback for my children and I. The five year plan just became a ten year plan I think so the job of rebuilding starts tomorrow. I will soon be back bigger, better and even smarter so stay tuned to this blog.

I'll chalk this up to another great entrepreneurial learning experience that you can't get at any university in the world. For entrepreneurs it's not about the money. It's about the journey and the best days are still to come.

All for now,

Brad Skelton

The Shipping Bloke


  1. Thankyou for the exciting 2 years I worked for you Brad. Best of luck with your next endeavors.

  2. Brad. I am so sorry for you and your loyal staff. It was like watching a vital, living animal being gutted by HSBC for a single tooth. HSBC lawyers probably kept them just inside the law, but it is they who are morally bankrupt! Take a deep breath as you will survive, recover and regroup. I look forward to your reincarnation as much as I have enjoyed watching your success over years.

  3. Brad, I am so sorry. During the 5 years I was with you, I learnt a lot and I remember that time very fondly. It is reprehensible that HSBC has been able to do this. I do know that you will be OK. You are a good business man and an inspiring leader so I am positive you will be back, bigger and better. Regards Kim West

  4. This is yet another horror story of a bank killing business. I watched with horror the same thing happening to our business but on a smaller scale. The pain remains the same. Without any missed payments or defaults, the credit dept decided to change their policy and they 'no longer had an apatite for our particular risk' and the result was the same - pay down the debt that they had provided 5 years previously. Fortunately for us we could conjure up more equity to survive, but we will never be fooled into thinking a bank is an asset for any business. Ours was the ANZ but they are all the same I fear.