Roberts Co bids for Probuild Melbourne projects, staff

Probuild was put into administration last week with 19 projects underway.

Roberts Co has entered an in principle agreement to acquire five Melbourne projects from failed developer Probuild.

If approved, control of the sites and related workforces would revert to the Sydney builder this month and construction could recommence.

Probuild’s South African parent, Wilson Bayly Holmes-Ovcon Limited, put the company into administration last week via Deloitte – with the Australian arm owing $14 million to 786 workers across all of its 19 projects.

It additionally owes 2300 creditors an undisclosed amount.

Opportunity for Roberts Co

With about 140 employees, Roberts Co was established in 2017 by Andrew Roberts, initially as a joint venture with Italian construction giant Impresa Pizzatori, whose interest was bought out.

It has developed high density residential as well as commercial and social infrastructure product, including for government.

It is believed the group has been seeking to enter the Victorian building for some time.

Mr Roberts also backs investment house RF Corval which last year acquired several Melbourne assets including the Eureka Skydeck, and a restaurant above it, for $60m and Farm Pride Foods’ Keysborough headquarters ($18.5m).

The executive previously ran Multiplex – which is now owned by Brookfield (story continues below).

Deloitte gets moving

Webuild and Built are understood to have also contested for the Probuild Melbourne contracts.

Hutchinson Builders is speculated to have thrown its hat in the ring for some local projects too.

Deloitte’s deal with Roberts Co includes retaining relevant workforces.

The administrator has separately struck a deal for Probuild to continue building a 15 level East Melbourne hotel for Woodlink.

It has indicated work at interstate sites might continue following similar negotiations.

Deloitte is separately trying to sell the Western Australia based WBHO Infrastructure business, which employs 300 staff; offers for this component are due on Friday.

This would leave Probuild’s interstate workbooks, in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney, left to offload.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of