With things getting back to normal post the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021 and the new normal becoming evident, 2022 presented most businesses with a set of complex circumstances that impacted many businesses at their core including labour force shortages, supply chain issues, significant price inflation and increasing interest rates. Whilst most businesses have been able to weather this storm there have been numerous business that did not, with the level of insolvencies within Australia returning closer to pre-pandemic levels. So, we again thought that it would be useful to compile our list of our 8 Most Notable Collapses of 2022.

Construction Industry

The Construction Industry has experienced the biggest collapse of 2022, with many businesses both large and small being placed into external administration. These businesses have been across residential, commercial and government construction projects and there are a number of primary drivers for these collapses including significant increases in raw material costs, COVID induced delays and low profit margin contracts.

Unfortunately, this has left a significant pool of subcontractors with unpaid invoices, together with a numerous homeowners out of pocket as they race to engage other builders to complete their projects, whilst facing the burden of covering the increase in costs that have now occured.

The number of notable builders to have collapsed in 2022 could easily fill all of the top spots in this list. Some key insolvencies include Probuild, Condev Construction, Pivotal Homes, Waterford Homes, New Sensation Homes, Privium, Home Innovation Builders, FIRM Construction, and Clough Group the most recent addition.

Given the significant pipeline of future infrastructure and building projects, there is a substantial need for structural reform within the construction industry to ensure that large head contractors are well resourced, profitable and are able to meet their liabilities in undertaking and completing the projects they take on.


On an international basis the Crypto industry has been the biggest loser of 2022, with a destruction in value of approximately US$2 trillion since the peak value of bitcoin in November 2021. This year we have seen the collapse of many crypto exchanges, hedge funds and other associated crypto businesses. These collapses have shown most crypto operators to have poor internal controls and processes and at worst are Ponzi schemes designed to enrich the operators of the scheme.

Notable collapses within the crypto industry include Voyager Digital, Three Arrows Capital, FTX, Terraform Labs, Celsius Network and BlockFi. These collapses have left retail investors significantly out of pocket, with many customers losing their crypto holdings due to shonky practices of these firms and the out of control hype surrounding the crypto industry.

There is a significant lack of government regulation and control over these crypto operators, with many operating in foreign jurisdictions that have minimal financial regulation. Accordingly, many individual retail investors have been caught up in these collapses that have resulted in the loss of personal wealth on a significant scale. The lack of regulation in the crypto industry is in significant contrast to that of other traditional financial industry businesses and it would be expected that more regulation will be introduced in 2023 and beyond to minimise the harm to retail investors from this industry.


Sneaker Boy

High end Footwear retailer Sneaker Boy was a casualty of what its director described as “short-term financing difficulties”, which had resulted in many customers waiting significant periods for the luxury designer sneakers they had purchased to be delivered, with many being left out of pocket upon the collapse of the business. Sneakerboy operated retail stores in both Melbourne and Sydney at the time of the appointment of the Voluntary Administrators. It appears that the business had been severely impacted by the Melbourne lockdowns and faced eviction from a number of its stores due to non-payment of rent.

The voluntary administration process allowed for the business to be restructured and packaged for sale to a UK Retail Group in August 2022.

We suspect that ongoing logistics and supply chain issues, together with a reduction in consumer spending as a result of interest rate rises and ongoing inflation will adversely impact the retail industry in 2023.

Victory Offices

Over recent years there has been exponential growth of co-working/share workspaces across Australia because of soaring demand. These co-working spaces usually contain premium and expensive modern fit outs to attract a range of businesses to utilise their services. Victory Offices was a provider of co-working spaces with 21 office locations at its peak in early 2022. A majority of these locations were in Victoria and were adversely impacted by stay-at-home orders of 2020/2021. Accordingly, they had incurred significant losses, with several leases terminated during 2022. Subsequently, Voluntary Administrators were appointed on 9 November 2022, on the eve of a winding up application which resulted in the Court replacing the administrators with a Liquidator.

The proliferation of shared workspaces does present a risk to commercial landlords as they have been the primary driver of commercial leases since 2020. The operators are at the risk of changing business habits and come may be left unviable in the event the coworking space does not continue to grow.



A Brisbane based rapid testing business, Ellume, was initially founded to develop simple to use diagnostic tools for common infectious diseases. The company had experienced significant growth during the pandemic primarily as a result of a $300mil deal with the Biden administration for its covid tests. The company had faced a number of challenges since it started distributing product, the least of which was a product recall consisting of 2 million test kits due to issues with their accuracy and losses in the 2020 and 2021 financial years totalling $100mil. The company had outstanding liabilities in excess of $140mil at the time of the appointment of the administrators and employed approximately 200 people in its Australian operations.

Similar to Sneakerboy, the voluntary administration process was utilised effectively to allow for a restructure of its business affairs and resulted in the administrators selling the business for $57mil to one of its main competitors.


The exploitation of gig workers did not appear to be a viable business model for Deliveroo in Australia and in mid-November they appointed voluntary administrators to its local operations. Initially it was feared that they would leave their delivery riders, consisting of about 15,000 people, high and dry, however it was later revealed that they would provide some compensation to these riders.

In addition to Deliveroo, a number of ultrafast grocery delivery services such as Voly also closed up due to the poor commercial return from their operations.

Given the precarious nature of work within the gig economy, it would be expected that the Labour Government will be looking at a reform agenda in this term of government to provide additional protections to these workers. Accordingly, expect to see more gig economy services re-evaluate their operations within Australia.

Ovato Limited

Ovato Limited, a 150 year old Australian company that ran the second biggest print operation in Australia collapsed in July 2022 following a previous attempt to restructure and divest various assets. At the time of the appointment of administrators the business was responsible for the production of numerous magazines and catalogues within Australia, with print operations in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth. The company had experienced a net trading loss for 2020 of approximately $110 million with a reduction in sales revenue primarily due to the impact of the covid pandemic of $130 million.

Following their appointment, the Administrators continued to trade the business and undertake a cost reduction strategy to ensure that any potential sale of the business was successful. Ultimately, the business was sold to its main competitor reducing the field of large-scale magazine printers from two to one. This consolidation was not opposed by the ACCC given that the print industry has long been in decline and there has been numerous consolidations of businesses in the past.

The sale of business resulted in a purchase price of $16mil to the creditors of the Company and allowed for a further consolidation of the printing industry with select assets excluded from the sale process.


The growing industry of E-sports had a notable collapse of an organisation known as ORDER. Voluntary Administrators were appointed to the E-sports organisations, which operated e-sports teams for Counter-Strike, League of Legends and Valorant. Following the appointment of the administrators operations at Order ceased immediately with the team members and support staff terminated. The organisation had raised $5.3mil in private funding during 2021, however this proved to be insufficient to keeping the organisation operating.

A sales campaign for the organisation was run by the administrators, however, it does not appear to have resulted in a successful sale of an operating business as most traces of the ORDER organisation have disappeared from the internet except for its twitter account that is being operated by disgruntled former employees.

As has been demonstrated through out 2022, the voluntary administration process can be effectively used to restructure, recapitalise and sell good businesses, free of legacy issues and legacy creditors. It remains a key process in the Australian insolvency toolkit and can be utilised in all businesses both large and small.

Insolvency Outlook For 2023

As for the outlook in 2023, we see that there will be further insolvencies as a result of pandemic legacy issues, together with some creditors of these notable collapses having to deal with their own financial difficulties. Insolvencies should continue to increase given more pressure from the ATO for outstanding tax debt. However due to the national pipeline of government backed infrastructure and ongoing mining activity in Australia, we should maintain a strong economy throughout 2023.

The team at RRI would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support during 2022 and look forward to working with you in 2023. In the meantime, have a fun and enjoyable holiday season.

Should you wish to discuss any of the above collapses, the insolvency landscape of the past year, or the financial situation of your business or client. Please contact our offices on 1300 904 946 or email enquiries@rriadvisory.com.au


This information and the contents of this publication, current as at the date of publication, is general in nature to offer assistance to RRI Advisory’s clients, prospective clients and stakeholders, and is for reference purposes only. It does not constitute legal or financial advice. If you are concerned about any topic covered, we recommend that you seek your own specific legal and financial advice before taking any action.