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Chairman’s Message – TMA Australia

This is a difficult time for Australian enterprise, workers and our communities. It is also a time for TMA Australia (TMAA) membership to shine.

We have always been a values driven membership, covering a broad church of special situations investors, advisors, educators and operators, both for international as well as SME assignments.

Our collective aim and primary objective is to restore business value and the jobs that come from those businesses. 

Our common ethics promote honesty, candour, fair dealings and promotion of those who engage us, above our own respective businesses. 

Before the present COVID-19 crisis, our membership was engaged in helping businesses affected by the recent and horrific east coast-based bushfires.  We were activating programs to raise funds and provide support to Foodbank – our community partner, an organisation providing some of the basic needs to ravaged regions.  

We thought those were the worst of times. And for the many businesses across rural Australia impacted by loss of custom, property and life, so they were.

And, then along comes this super bug.

The TMAA responded, with haste and professionalism, by providing an advocacy into Treasury to guide the new safe harbour reforms.  The Minister has written to the TMA Australia Board, complimenting the team on its advocacy and indicating that we will have a continued involvement in new initiatives.

The TMAA is also advocating with other associations to support liquidity measures being introduced by Government, banks, funds, ASX and other regulators.

These initiatives should provide enterprise with the best chance possible of continuing ordinary business operations without fear of personal risk, so long as duties-based responsibilities of directors continue to be met. 

While some have ventured that ‘business as usual’ tests cannot be met in restructuring businesses, those sorts of responses ignore both that the fundamental essence of business is to recreate itself through constant improvement. 

The mere fact that constant improvement in these dire situations have a greater emphasis on operational triage, profit guidance resets, P+L restatement or balance sheet replenishment does not alter the fact that restructuring is a regular engagement by business across a broad continuum.  A liquidity or microbe event crisis is, in this sense, just one part of the quiver of extraneous factors affecting business. 

TMAA members have experience in the various stakeholder negotiations needed to fix those problems. It is now on us to convince businesses that they need a plan, begun now, to emerge out the other side (no one should be under any illusion that debt without growth is a recipe for disaster nor that credit will dry up from supply chains that do not understand the stabilization and go-forward plans).  And, to be as transparent as possible with stakeholders to work as a community supporting the turnaround plan. 

Our membership, even as regular events are disrupted, have sought to raise funds for Foodbank and to support enterprises affected by Government initiated closures.

In the same way, as TMAA members, we stand together as one and stand ready to save those in business who are falling behind because of our collective efforts.

Also, to explain that with anticipated post-COVID infrastructure and investment spending, there is an attractive shoreline for business to bridge towards. 

During these unprecedented times, we encourage you to remain engaged with the TMA.  Look for new content on turnaround.org.au as we build a library of advisories, reports and other media on our COVID-19 Business Resources page.  As an international organisation of close to 10,000 members, we also refer you to the TMA Global page for an international perspective. 

Cameron Belyea
TMA Australia Chairman
(Partner, Clayton Utz)

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