TOUGH TIMES: Novellus Group Pty Ltd director Craig McCabe.
TOUGH TIMES: Novellus Group Pty Ltd director Craig McCabe. John McCutcheon

Husband and wife restaurant company folds with huge tax bill

A HIGH-profile husband and wife's company, behind four restaurants and cafes, has gone bust after racking up sizeable tax debts, including more than $220,000 in unpaid superannuation and wages.

Craig and Maeva McCabe, directors of Novellus Group Pty Ltd, had their company placed in liquidation after Federal Court action was taken by the Deputy Commissioner of Taxation to wind it up.

Novellus Group had traded as Circa Cooroy, Republique, Felix Espresso & Wine Bar and Noosa Hot Bread Shop, prior to the company's collapse.

A liquidator's initial report released in March found the businesses known as Felix Espresso, Circa Bistro and Coffee Republique were sold for $10,000 to Postcode 4567 Pty Ltd, as trustee for the CRF Trust about two days before Novellus folded.

Postcode 4567 is directed by Maeva McCabe, and the company was registered on December 6, 2018, before Brisbane-based liquidator Mitchell Herrett, of RSM Australia Partners, was appointed by the court to wind up Novellus on December 14.

The ATO had submitted proofs of debt of $580,000 for a running balance and $227,000 in unpaid employee superannuation, some of which was understood to date back to 2015.

Noosa Hot Bread Shop, Noosa Junction. Craig McCabe hard at work.
Noosa Hot Bread Shop, Noosa Junction. Craig McCabe hard at work. John McCutcheon

Mr Herrett said investigations were continuing in relation to the transfer of the businesses and any possible voidable transactions or payments.

"We'll advise creditors in due course of the outcome," he said.

In Mr Herrett's initial report he outlined his preliminary view that the company had "exhibited financial and commercial indicators of insolvency on or before 30 June, 2017".

His estimation in the March report had been that the extent of an insolvent trading claim could be in the vicinity of $1.3 million.

His report advised it would be unlikely any dividend would be declared to unsecured creditors, based on initial investigations.

The Daily understood Mr McCabe had also filed for bankruptcy in April.

The initial creditors' report identified $1.31 million in projected debts to 92 creditors, but Mr Herrett said that figure could change, depending on how many formal proofs of debt were lodged.

It also identified loan accounts owed to the company of $201,144 in Craig McCabe's name, and $136,639 in Maeva McCabe's name.

A loan account of $167,864 was also identified in the name of Mr McCabe Snr, as a related-party creditor, but it was understood formal proofs of debt were yet to be lodged.

Mrs McCabe said they were fine at the moment, and the three businesses transferred were "open and running fine".

She said there was "no way" they would shut down, before saying she was no longer comfortable speaking on the matter and ending the phone call.



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