He built up a state-wide construction business over the past 15 years and claimed to be a leader in the industry, but now it has all fallen in a heap.
He built up a state-wide construction business over the past 15 years and claimed to be a leader in the industry, but now it has all fallen in a heap.

Veteran Queensland builder goes bust after 15 years

He built up a Queensland-wide construction business over the past 15 years and claimed to be a leader in the industry.

But Phil Dowthwaite has pulled the plug on his solely-owned company GPH Projects Pty Ltd, shuttering offices in both the Gold Coast and Townsville.

He appointed Mitchell Herrett and Frank Pilato, from accounting mob RSM Australia Partners, as joint liquidators last week to wind up the firm.

Dowthwaite couldn't be reached for comment on Wednesday and Herrett, rather unhelpfully, would not divulge any information, such as how many creditors are out there or how much they are owed.

GPH Projects owner Phil Dowthwaite
GPH Projects owner Phil Dowthwaite

For now, at least, the reasons for the collapse will remain shrouded in mystery.

No doubt we'll find out a bit more when Herrett lodges with ASIC the standard bean counter's autopsy report on how it all went pear-shaped.

The still-intact GPH website says that "we stand by our uncompromising integrity and fairness in dealing with clients, project teams and partners'' so hopefully that ethos remains in play.

It may not be entirely game-over for Dowthwaite either.

Corporate records show he still serves on the board of a number of intact entities, including Castano Bathroom & Kitchen Collective Pty Ltd, where he is one of three directors.

Dowthwaite launched GPH on the Gold Coast in 2005, securing work from state and local governments, as well as completing numerous residential, commercial and industrial projects for developers.

Among his trophy homes was a sprawling Sanctuary Cove luxury pad that changed hands a few years ago for $7 million.

Dowthwaite branched out to Townsville in 2014, where he knocked out plenty of unit developments, including the $35 million Castle Point project for now-defunct Blue Sky Alternative Investments.

He also oversaw the $35 million expansion of Blue Sky's Riverside Gardens unit development.

A GPH Projects home in Sanctuary Cove
A GPH Projects home in Sanctuary Cove

GPH kept busy with jobs in the public sector too, including work on the redevelopment of the historic Jezzine Barracks site for the Townsville City Council.

The 15ha coastal precinct includes a coastal walkway, observation decks, an amphitheatre and parklands.

 

SAME TIME NEXT YEAR

We're well on the way to reopening and returning to some semblance of pre-coronavirus life despite a bit of unpleasantness down south.

But long lead times mean plenty of events continue to be scrapped, including the planned Queensland Business Leaders Hall of Fame induction dinner that was originally scheduled for Thursday night.

It's the first time the annual bash, which usually attracts an 800-strong crowd to the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, has been cancelled since it launched in 2009.

No new names of influential bizoids or prominent companies will be added to the honour roll this year either.

Philip Bacon
Philip Bacon

But organisers, including Morgans boss Tim Crommelin and legal eagle Brett Heading, vow the shindig will be back again this time in 2021.

Last year, four businesses were recognised - Wallace Bishop Jewellers, engineering firm Evans Deakin Industries, developer Springfield City Group and cinema icon Birch Carroll and Coyle.

Art dealer Philip Bacon and the late mining executive Sir George Fisher also got the nod.

 

BUY NOW PAY LATER

Both the popularity and market cap of "buy now, pay later'' operators have surged during the pandemic as traditional credit card use continues to decline.

But are investors ignoring warning signs about the firms, which have yet to turn a profit?

Phil Ruthven's forecasting mob IBISWorld noted in a report this week that market leader Afterpay is now worth more than $17 billion, with its share price soaring from $8.90 in March to more than $70 this month.

Industry revenue is forecast to grow at an annualised rate of 9.8 per cent to $1.1 bn by 2025, up from $741 million this year.

"Although the buy now, pay later industry is growing strongly, industry firms have made losses over the past five years and will likely continue to do so in 2020-21,'' the report said.

 

Originally published as Veteran Queensland builder goes bust after 15 years


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