Interacting with a Liquidator

For alcohol producers in Australia, buying equipment from auction sales or liquidators can be an attractive option. These avenues often present opportunities to acquire assets at a reduced cost. However, it’s important to understand the financial and practical considerations involved. As an accountant with experience in the alcohol production industry, I advise clients on the nuances of such purchases. Here’s what you need to know.

 1. Understanding Auction and Liquidation Sales
- Nature of Sales: Equipment sold through auctions or liquidators typically comes from businesses that have ceased operations or are downsising.
- Potential for Savings: These sales can offer equipment at lower prices compared to the market value of new or standard used equipment.

 2. Assessing the Quality of Equipment
- Due Diligence: Conduct thorough due diligence on the equipment. This includes checking its condition, maintenance history, and any warranties or guarantees.
- Inspection: If possible, inspect the equipment in person or hire a professional to assess its condition and suitability for your needs.

 3. Understanding the True Cost
- Initial Purchase Price: While the purchase price might be lower, consider other costs such as refurbishment, installation, transportation, and any necessary modifications.
- Ongoing Maintenance Costs: Factor in potential maintenance or repair costs, especially if the equipment is older or without warranty.

 4. Legal and Compliance Considerations
- Compliance with Standards: Ensure that the equipment complies with Australian safety and production standards.
- Licensing and Permits: Verify that the use of such equipment will meet all licensing and permit requirements for alcohol production.

 5. Tax Implications
- Depreciation: Understand how the purchased equipment will be depreciated for tax purposes. Second-hand equipment may have different depreciation rates.
- GST and Other Taxes: Be aware of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) implications and any other relevant taxes associated with the purchase.

 6. Auction Terms and Conditions
- Payment Terms: Familiarise yourself with the payment terms of the auction or liquidation sale.
- Bidding Strategy: Develop a bidding strategy, setting a maximum price to ensure you stay within your budget.

 7. Financial Planning and Budgeting
- Budget Allocation: Allocate a portion of your budget for potential unexpected expenses related to the purchase.
- Cash Flow Impact: Assess how the purchase will impact your business’s cash flow, especially if substantial investment is required for refurbishment or installation.

 8. Risk Assessment
- Risk Evaluation: Weigh the risks associated with purchasing from auctions or liquidators, such as lack of warranty, uncertain longevity, and potential downtime if repairs are needed.
- Backup Plan: Have a contingency plan in place in case the equipment fails to meet your production needs or requires significant additional investment.

 9. Seeking Professional Advice
- Consult with an Accountant: Before making a purchase, consult with an accountant. They can provide insights on the financial impact, tax implications, and help in budget planning.
- Legal Advice: Consider obtaining legal advice to understand any contractual obligations and liabilities associated with the purchase.

Purchasing alcohol production equipment from auction sales or liquidators can offer cost savings, but it’s crucial to approach these opportunities with careful financial planning, thorough due diligence, and an understanding of the associated risks and implications. As your accountant, I am here to guide you through these considerations, ensuring that your investment decisions are sound and align with your business’s financial strategy.