Smiles all round

Qteq shakes off WellDog past

Field experts (l-r, back) Qteq's Field Technicians Dakota Dixon-King and James Lorrimer; (l-r, front) Louis McGowan and Ben Currie

A successful management buy-in has saved more than 50 high-tech energy and resources industry jobs with receivers Pitcher Partners agreeing to sell the business of WellDog Pty Ltd to Qteq Pty Ltd.

The new entity’s establishment was funded by Perth-based start-up venture capital company ProX Pty Ltd.

Headed by 40-year industry veteran and former WellDog director Simon Ashton, ProX provided the financial support to ensure the Australian operation remained a going concern during receivership. It then financed the purchase of the remains of the business through a new holding company.

“All ties with the US parent company are now severed and, while many faces will be the same as far as clients and suppliers are concerned, Qteq in no way reflects the management ethos of its predecessor,” Mr Ashton said.

Executive chairman of receivers Pitcher Partners Bryan Hughes said the transition was “a case study in how the fortunes of a company in receivership can improve so quickly”.

“This outcome was achieved thanks to the concerted efforts of staff, suppliers, clients, the receivership team and with financial support from ProX,” Mr Hughes explained.

While Qteq’s predecessor – which had been a successful technical specialist servicing the onshore energy and resources industry – is no longer operating in Australia, its former strengths are clearly evident in its nimble successor.

Headed by Mr Ashton, as Chairman and CEO, and Chief Operating Officer Ewan Meldrum, Qteq is a wholly Australian-owned technical services company. It has already recapitalised the business and its board is progressing plans for growth, acquisitions and expansion.

“It really is remarkable how our people have rallied over the past few months,” Mr Meldrum said. “They have shown the calibre of their commitment not only to their new company but also to each other and the whole georesources industry by focusing on their work, ensuring our clients’ supply chains were not disrupted and continuing our excellent health and safety record.

“As we launch Qteq, I would like to especially thank our staff, our suppliers, our clients and ProX for their unwavering support over the past few months and thank Pitcher Partners for their sage and timely advice.”

Shell’s General Manager Wells Operations Australia, Mike Ward, said Qteq had delivered economic and environmental innovation in its work for Shell: “Qteq is providing high-volume, low-cost solutions that are important to our business.”

Background: Originating in America, Welldog established its Australian arm, WellDog Pty Ltd, in 2011 and became a respected technical services provider. However, its financial future was upended earlier this year after its US parent company placed the company in voluntary administration.  Immediately after, its major secured creditor, Mr Ashton’s company ProX Pty Ltd, called in the receivers. To ensure the company stayed afloat until a decision could be made on its future, ProX immediately assigned an experienced turnaround management team to stabilise the business and provided working capital to ensure the business could successfully trade and meet its contractual commitments. This protected clients’ supply chains, ensured no disruptions to services and met payroll commitments.

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