Webb’s Tekno in liquidation owing $390,000

A Tekno Autosports Supercar with Tekno Performance branding, in 2018. Picture: Ross Gibb

The company known previously as ‘Tekno Performance’, of which Jonathon Webb is sole director, has been placed into voluntary liquidation with a debt exceeding $390,000 to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

ASIC (Australian Securities & Investments Commission) records show that a company by the name of ‘A.C.N. 605 532 107 PTY LTD’ (herein referred to subsequently as ‘Tekno Performance’) gave notification that it was winding up three days ago (Monday, September 19).

That company was previously known as ‘TEKNO PERFORMANCE PTY LTD’, from the time of registration on April 28, 2015 until the change to the current name, which appears to be derived from its Australian Company Number (ACN: 605 532 107), on September 25, 2019.

Records show that its sole director and secretary is a ‘Jonathon Stephen Webb’ born in Sydney on December 10, 1983, while the current principal place of business is 110 Ferry Road, Southport, Queensland 4215, and principal place of business immediately prior was 11 Dixon Street, Yatala, Queensland 4207.

That Southport address is an exact match for the business which appears to be trading presently as ‘Tekno Bespoke’, and the Yatala address for Tekno Performance’s former premises, which also housed the ‘Tekno Autosports’ Supercars team before its move south as ‘Team Sydney’.

Steven Neville Staatz was appointed external administrator of Tekno Performance last month (August 23).

The ATO is listed as both a priority creditor and an unsecured creditor on the Creditor Listing of Reports which is contained in documentation lodged by that administrator with ASIC.

The priority creditor figure is $44,784.67 while the unsecured creditor figure is $346,917.63.

‘Priority creditors’ are a special class of unsecured creditor who have employment entitlements, including government-mandated Super Guarantee Contributions.

As such, the $44,784.67 figure represents unpaid superannuation.

The ATO is the only priority creditor but one of six unsecured creditors, including ‘Jonathon Webb’ himself, though those other five are owed precisely $0.00 each.

Of the five secured creditors, only a ‘Stephen John Webb’ is owed money, although that $65,000.00 figure is listed under ‘Advised’ only rather than ‘ROCAP’ (‘Report on company activities and property’, an ASIC standard for liquidators introduced in 2018).

Jonathon Webb

Notably, while ‘Tekno Bespoke’ appears to be trading to this day, the Initial Notice to Creditors states that Tekno Performance ceased trading in February.

“The director disclosed in his submitted Report on Company Activities and Property (ROCAP) that the Company previously provided services for vehicle modifications,” it reads, in part, under the section ‘Business Operations’.

“The director also advised that business operation ceased trading on 24 February 2022 due to his ill health, the market decline in automotive service, with these issues coinciding with the COVID-19 pandemic.”

However, the domain ‘TEKNOBESPOKE.COM.AU’, which is registered to ‘Kobe Gett TEKNO Discretionary Trust’, was last modified on March 3, 2022, according to internet registration records.

Furthermore, a ‘TEKNO BESPOKE PTY LTD’ was registered with ASIC on January 18, 2022, 28 business days before Tekno Performance/’605 532 107’ is said to have ceased trading.

It too, counts a ‘Jonathon Stephen Webb’ who was born in Sydney on December 10, 1983 as a director, and its official principal place of business is indeed 110 Ferry Road, Southport, Queensland 4215.

That is, a company with a very similar name, which is engaged in a similar/identical line of business, with a common director and common place of business, was registered barely weeks before that which is now in liquidation is said to have ceased trading.

Liquidation may sometimes be a legitimate business strategy.

However, while the registration of Tekno Bespoke was not necessarily motivated by ill intent, some of the aforementioned activities have commonality with what is sometimes described as ‘phoenix activity’.

ASIC’s own website describes the practice as such:

“Illegal phoenix activity occurs when a new company, for little or no value, continues the business of an existing company that has been liquidated or otherwise abandoned to avoid paying outstanding debts, which can include taxes, creditors and employee entitlements.”

Furthermore, ASIC identifies the following six ‘warning signs’ of illegal phoenix activity.

  • the company fails and cannot pay its debts
  • the company changes its name to its Australian Company Number (ACN) and a new company is registered, often with a similar name to the old company
  • the directors or former directors transfer the assets from the old company to the new company for less than market value
  • the new company operates the same or similar business as the old company, sometimes from the same premises, using the same assets and employees
  • the new company often uses the same bank account, advertising material, websites or contact details as the old company
  • the people involved in managing the old company control the new company.

Tekno’s business premises. Picture: Tekno Bespoke Facebook

Certainly, the behaviour of the ‘Tekno Performance’/’Tekno Bespoke’ entities collectively matches at least four of those bullet points in part or in full, and arguably has/will match the first one also considering what the old ‘Tekno Performance’ owes compared to its assets at present.

Specifically, Tekno Performance has assets totalling $32.20 cash at bank, according to the lodgement with ASIC signed by Jonathon Webb in his capacity as director as at August 23, 2022.

All other ‘assets not specifically subject to security interest’, including ‘plant and machinery’, have no valuation listed against them.

‘Webb Management Pty Ltd’ is the sole shareholder of the company, at present, and its address is also 110 Ferry Road, Southport, Queensland 4215.

The revelations come less than a year on from Webb selling the Tekno Autosports/Team Sydney motorsport team to hire magnate Peter Xiberras.

While Tekno reached great heights in both Supercars and GT3 competition, winning the Bathurst 1000 and Bathurst 12 Hour in the same year (2016), it came to be a laughing stock in its latter seasons.

Despite fielding Triple Eight Race Engineering-built cars, its vehicles were regarded as the worst in the field last year, and Alex Davison missed a full day of action at The Bend in 2020 after his Team Sydney entry had an engine fail while the only spare was away being serviced.

Update 14:41 AEST

Webb initially declined to comment when contacted this afternoon by Speedcafe.com.

He subsequently provided the following statement by text message:

“I am winding up an old company that is no longer trading and has no connection with our previous race team.”

Jonathon Webb’s autograph on memorabilia compared to the signature on documentation lodged with ASIC. Pictures: The Motorsport Trader / ASIC

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