Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Benalla and Mansfield Toyota signs positive

The hunt is on for a buyer for Benalla and Mansfield Toyota after the business went into receivership last fortnight.

KAITLIN THALS December 6, 2013 8:47am

For sale: The hunt is on for a buyer after Benalla and Mansfield Toyota dealerships went into receivership a fortnight ago.

It’s business as usual for Benalla and Mansfield Toyota while they hunt for someone to buy the dealerships which went into receivership a fortnight ago.

Peter Hedge from Tanvis Investments Pty Ltd was appointed receiver and manager of Benalla and Mansfield Toyota, and will continue to trade the businesses with a view to selling them in the near future.

‘‘Our main concern as the receiver is to keep the business operating as business as usual ... that makes it more interest for someone to buy it.’’

Mr Hedge said the job security of Benalla and Mansfield Toyota staff was not at immediate risk.

‘‘Customers are getting normal, great service from the staff, who are ... doing a great job. Nothing has changed,’’ Mr Hedge said.

‘‘The purpose of continuing the business and selling it is to provide ongoing work and ongoing work opportunities for the people that work in the business, ’’ he said.

‘‘Their job is as secure as your job, it’s business as usual and that involves the need to employ people to operate the business.”

Mr Hedge said he already had potential buyers interested in the dealerships, and he hoped to have the sale completed by early next year.

Former Benalla and Mansfield Toyota dealer principal Travis Mullavey said on Monday that his poor decision making led the businesses into receivership, however there was a plan in place to rectify the issues well before then.

‘‘We certainly don’t want to shy away from the fact that we made some poor decisions, and they were decisions that during the last few months we were working to rectify,’’ Mr Mullavey said.

‘‘We were aware we needed to change our structure and relationships so we can work through the issues — right up to the 18th of November when then receivers were appointed — we felt we had a workable plan and Toyota Finance and Toyota Motor Corporation was aware of this, to resolve the issues.

‘‘Tania (Mullavey) and I knew there would be a hard few years to fix it but we had the absolute intent to do that and to make sure everyone was paid.’’

Mr and Mrs Mullavey wanted to thank the Benalla community for its support during this time.

Mr Mullavey purchased the two Toyota dealerships in 2010, relocating from Warrnambool.

The businesses were sponsors for many local sporting clubs and community groups in both towns.

The business was the naming rights sponsor for the Benalla Toyota Benalla Gold Cup, and was a major sponsor at Benalla Saints and Benalla All Blacks football netball clubs.

Benalla and Mansfield Toyota also owns Bridgestone Tyre and Auto Service, having purchased the business late last year.

However, Shepparton’s Solar City Tyres general business manager John Zappala said he hoped to finalise the purchase of the business soon and final negotiations were taking place.

Mr Zappala said should the sale proceed he had every intention to retain local jobs.

Up to 20 staff are employed at the Benalla and Mansfield Toyota dealerships.

About six months ago the closure of Bunnings Trade Benalla Frame and Truss resulted in 48 jobs being lost.

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