Healthcare ad agency Hammond & Thackeray collapse leaves publishers out of pocket

One of the major media agencies of the healthcare industry, Hammond & Thackeray, has gone into liquidation with creditors including major publishers and agencies expected to be $4.4 million out of pocket.

The 35-year-old agency which also serviced agricultural clients from its Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland offices, was wound up by its directors on December 22. Parent company the Healthy Thinking Group is not affected by the decision.

Hammond & Thackeray became a subsidiary of the Healthy Thinking Group in late 2013 with former managing director Tony Northam becoming group managing director of the parent company. Between 2014 and 2016 former Fairfax CEO Brian McCarthy was chairman of the group.

The collapse of H&T comes at a time of upheaval in the healthcare advertising industry with WPP merging its two healthcare agencies and IPG selling McCann Health to specialist agency Ward6 last month.

A statement to creditors issued by liquidators BRI Ferrier on January 5 reveals the company had just $19,500 cash on hand, $798,000 worth of assets with an estimated realisable value of just $20,000, and a massive $4,411,557 of debts.

Of the company’s liabilities, trade creditors are owed $1.77 million. However, they rank behind  secured creditors, along with employees which have obligations of $1.12 million and statutory creditors including the ATO which have $272,000 outstanding.

Prominent among the unsecured trade creditors are Fairfax subsidiary Agricultural Publishers, which is owed $117,289.00. News Corp has also taken a hit with two divisions of the Herald and Weekly Times owed over $49,000 and Nationwide News, publisher of The Australian, owed an undetermined amount.

Medical trade publishers have been hard hit with The Moose Republic, owners of the Medical Republic site, and the Australian Doctor Group, publishers of Australian Doctor, having outstanding debts of $90,367.20 and $64,393 respectively. Australian Pharmaceutical Publishing is owed $58,311.00.

Australian Doctor’s owner Cirrus Media is also separately listed as being owed a further $112,121.46 outstanding, while Intermedia and Informa are both owed just over $30,000.

Hard hit by the liquidation is independent media agency Nunn Media which tops the unsecured media creditors list with $334,152.37 outstanding. However, media agencies typically have insurance against bad debts of this size.

Mumbrella understands creditors are pushing for an early creditors meeting to be held in the near future. Mumbrella has contacted BRI Ferrier to attempt to ascertain when the first creditors’ meeting is due to be held.

At the time of posting, Healthy Thinking had not responded to Mumbrella’s invitations to comment.



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