Armaguard rejects $26 million lifeline to avoid insolvency as Coles ends pause on cash deliveries

Armaguard rejects $26 million lifeline to avoid insolvency as Coles ends pause on cash deliveries
  • PublishedMarch 28, 2024

Armaguard has rejected a $26 million lifeline offered by some of Australia’s biggest companies to keep the cash transport company afloat.

The company, which is controlled by trucking magnate Lindsay Fox, had been given until the end of the day to either accept or reject a financial lifeline to avert insolvency, and to keep cash flowing to major businesses.

Major banks, supermarkets, Australia Post and retailer Wesfarmers proposed the $26 million rescue package last week.

In a statement, Armaguard Group’s chief executive Mick Cronin said the company is now working with each of its customers on a way forward.

“Armaguard confirms it is working constructively with all its customers, including its retail customers, banks and other key stakeholders regarding both short-term and long-term financial solutions for the industry to remain sustainable,” he said.

“Armaguard continues to operate its full suite of services and is confident that over the coming months, it will get the business onto a long-term sustainable footing with appropriate support from the industry.”

On Wednesday, former ACTU secretary and Linfox director Bill Kelty represented Armaguard at a meeting chaired by Reserve Bank governor Michele Bullock, who emphasised the urgent need for a resolution.

Coles ends ‘temporary’ pause

Prior to the collapse of the deal, supermarket giant Coles confirmed it had “paused” Armaguard services for the pick-up and delivery of banknotes and coins until April 5, as concerns mounted that the money transporter could collapse.

In a statement, Coles said it was temporarily pausing its use of the company given its “evolving” situation and was not getting rid of its cash payment options, despite reports that its stores had been directed to be “card only” over the Easter long weekend.

“We are not transitioning to cashless transactions. Due to industry-wide challenges with cash movements, we are taking some temporary steps to prepare for disruption to Armaguard services,” Coles said in a statement.

“Cash transactions continue to be available in all Coles supermarkets and Coles Liquor stores.”

But on Thursday afternoon, Coles confirmed it had resumed its services with Armaguard.

“Coles can confirm that normal cash collection and processing services from Armaguard have resumed,” it said in a statement.

“Customers can continue to pay with and withdraw cash at Coles supermarkets and liquor stores this weekend and ongoing.”

The supermarket has also recently reduced its cash out limit at its stores to $200 per transaction.

Coles self-service checkouts.
Coles says customers will be able to pay using cash or card at its checkouts.(ABC News: Raveen Hunjan)

The ABC understands that Woolworths had not made any changes to its cash pick-up and delivery services in the lead-up to Armaguard’s deal decision, and is not expecting disruptions over the Easter long weekend.

Meanwhile, the Transport Workers Union (TWU) says it is in “ongoing discussions” with Armaguard amid its insolvency concerns.

The TWU represents around 700 of the company’s workers, including its armoured truck drivers who are responsible for the secure transport of banknotes and coins from businesses.

“Cash-in-transit workers do an important job, but it is a dangerous job,” TWU national secretary Michael Kaine said in a statement.

“Armed hold-ups and deaths in the line of duty are known in this industry.

“It’s critical for the safety and wellbeing of these transport workers that this is resolved quickly with a view to the future. With the public holiday approaching, workers need certainty and peace of mind.”

Armaguard has been struggling to stay afloat despite merging with rival money mover Prosegur last year, due to the rise in cashless transactions, making the transportation of banknotes and coins around the country increasingly unprofitable.


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