Amid a push for Sydney Opera House to take over Carriageworks, philanthropists led by Kerr Neilson and daughter Paris, pledged support for an independent Carriageworks.
The Neilson Foundation committed $500,000 and the Gonski family foundation $200,000, most of the latter to kick in over four years once Carriageworks has resumed trading.
Geoff Ainsworth and wife Johanna Featherstone pledged $2 million through their philanthropic Oranges and Sardines Foundation, of which $200,000 is upfront cash and $1.8 million is to be given as a low-interest five-plus-year loan, upon which Carriageworks can drawdown for working capital.
The Packer Family Foundation/Crown Foundation promised Carriageworks $240,000 for the continuation of the Solid Ground Project. All money is conditional on an independent future of Carriageworks.
The government’s offer is for a 10-year lease, with the option of another two five year terms, important because Carriageworks has been operating on a month-by-month lease since 2018.
The organisation owes more than $2 million to 225 creditors, company records to the market regulator shows. With agreement, Carriageworks’ employees would be guaranteed their entitlements and unsecured creditors would receive between 20 and 30 per cent and this position seems likely to win support.
Late yesterday Carriageworks chief executive Blair French notified Carriageworks’ staff and key stakeholders of the “good news”. Chairman Cass O’Connor advised KPMG it could begin the process of calling the second meeting of creditors.
Mr French said the NSW Government had verbally confirmed its support of the terms attached to the Deed of Company Arrangement for the return of Carriageworks to its management. He said were were still a number of steps to go through before the matter was finalised.
“Most importantly, the final decision on the Deed of Company Arrangement rests with the creditors,” Mr French said. “The meeting of creditors where this will be voted on should now be able to be held sometime during the week beginning July 20. This will be confirmed by KPMG.”
“We are delighted with this outcome,” Mr Harwin said.
“We would like to thank the wonderful donors Geoff Ainsworth and wife Johanna Featherstone, Kerr Neilson, Michael Gonski and The Packer Family Foundation who have so generously contributed to the continuing future of Carriageworks.
“At the heart of it, we are excited for the resident companies of Carriageworks who will also greatly benefit from this announcement.”