If your business is put into Voluntary Administration, a ‘DOCA’ is what comes next
A Deed of Company Arrangement (DOCA) is an agreement between the creditors of a company and the directors as to how the affairs of the company will be managed after being put into administration.
A DOCA is an optional path for creditors to take up but, if enacted, it’s a binding arrangement. The Deed of Company Arrangement document binds all unsecured creditors, even if they voted against the procedure. Owners of property that lease their assets to the company or to secured creditors are also bound to the agreement if they voted in favour of the DOCA.
However, in certain circumstances, the courts may order that owners or property be bound by the deed regardless of whether they voted in favour or not.
DOCA’s are designed to maximise the potential for the company to continue trading; or to simply offer a better return for creditors than putting it into liquidation.
What does a Deed of Company Arrangement usually consist of?
A Deed of Company Arrangement (DOCA) consists of many elements including repayment terms such as repayment times, outlining payment plans, and creditor arrangements. A DOCA offers the company the opportunity to trade through its financial difficulties.
A DOCA must consist of the following information:
- The administrator’s name of the deed’s
- A list of the company’s property that will be used to pay back creditors
- The order in which creditors are to receive the property of the company to satisfy their claim
- The conditions of the deed to come into effect.
A company must also include the text “subject to a Deed of Company Arrangement” on all public documents whilst it is subject to a DOCA.
The Deed of Company Arrangement process timeline
The DOCA process starts with when it is determined that the company should enter into voluntary administration by the registered liquidator.
A meeting with creditors will be arranged by the liquidator and the DOCA must be executed 15 days after the meeting where the creditors reached a resolution on the DOCA. If the DOCA is not executed before the 15 days then the company will be placed into liquidation automatically.
The DOCA will terminate once all the terms of the deed are satisfied.
Typically, this is when the company makes its final payment as per its creditor repayment terms. Once the DOCA is fulfilled the company may continue as a solvent company.
The DOCA may also be terminated by the court and/or the creditors if the company doesn’t abide by the terms of the deed.
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Who manages the DOCA?
The DOCA is managed and monitored by the deed administrator. It is the administrator’s role to ensure that the commitments made between the relevant parties (those who have made commitments under the deed) are carried through and completed.
Creditors may also assist with managing and monitoring the Deed of Company Arrangement by reporting on missed deadlines and/or payments that the company was obligated to fulfil.
The extent and duration of the deed administrator’s role will be detailed in the DOCA but it is required that the administrator must lodge all receipts and payments with the Australian Securities & Investments Committee (ASIC) every six months.
Here is what a DOCA can and cannot do:
- Bind all unsecured creditors, regardless of whether they agreed to the proposal or not.
- Bind the owners of property or property leased to the company if they voted for it.
- Stop creditors with a personal guarantee from taking action to be repaid.
Help for a Distraught Director and Accountant
Australian Debt Solvers were extremely competent and spent a great deal of time answering our questions. Everything was set out clearly and in a helpful manner with easy to understand instructions. Advice was given with the greatest consideration. I would strongly recommend them to anyone who needs help with company liquidation.
They answered every question we asked within a very short space of time. Nothing was too much trouble and they were very understanding – knowing how hard it is for a business to come to this decision.
I have told other Accountants about the great service they provide.
Keeping a profitable business, after the Court had appointed a Liquidator
We spoke to ADS after our company had already been wound up by the courts. We wanted the assets from the liquidated business, but didn’t know how to get them. We called Debt Solvers and they took care of everything….they got an “Authority to Act” from us, spoke to Deloittes who were the Liquidator, negotiated the sale of the assets, set up a new company for us…….and we are now going from strength to strength. Money was well spent with ADS!
Gary & Jo, UFIF Engineering
Turning around a company that owed too much to the Tax Office
Our company is a Medical recruitment agency with mostly Government based clients. We had a good sales forecast……but were heavily weighed down with debt, mostly from the ATO. I met with Debt Solvers….when I thought I was going to lose the business. They talked me through Voluntary Administration where you offer creditors a reduced amount, and you pay the reduced debt over 12 months – which is called a Deed of Company Arrangement. Our creditors agreed on the offer, and we have gone from strength to strength. ADS even organised a Debtor Finance company to assist with our cashflow at a reasonable rate. Considering I thought we were going to lose the business – an great result!
Shaun, Beat Medical
We’ve helped thousands of Australian Business Directors with the Lowest Price Liquidations in Australia!
Australian Debt Solvers takes up to 10 enquiries per day from Australian Companies that have debt issues. A lot of these have under $100,000 of unsecured debt, with no company assets, and simply need to close the company down. Debt Solvers does this for a fair price, efficiently and with empathy for the Director. It’s a service that has proven extremely useful for Directors, right across Australia.
A low cost Voluntary Administration service to get companies back on their feet
Australian Debt Solvers hears from a lot of Directors, where there company could be profitable and trading well, but they are being tied down by too much debt – of which the majority is usually the ATO. We have worked through with hundreds of companies – a Voluntary Administration – where we negotiate and reduced amount of debt to creditors over usually a 12-24 month period. This is called a Deed of Company Arrangement….and is an extremely effective method of assisting companies to “get back on their feet”. Debt Solvers charges a fair price through this process…….and it’s great to see a business go from strength to strength after this service.
Blows competition out of the water
Firstly Dave showed compassion when the other liquidator was very impersonal. Secondly Australian Debt Solvers are helpful – there was stuff Dave didn’t have to tell me as he is just dealing with our company not our personal affairs. However he answered all my questions which makes it easier and gives me a lot more confidence that we are not breaching rules as we wind down. Thirdly, the fee is so much cheaper than a traditional insolvency practice. So far I am very impressed with Australian Debt Solvers. I will post another review once we have completed the process.
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Deed of Company Arrangement FAQs
What is a Deed of Company Arrangement?
A Deed of Company Arrangement (also referred to as a DOCA) is a legally binding arrangement between a company and the company’s creditors.
The DOCA governs how the company’s affairs will be dealt with and its purpose is to increase the chances of the company being able to continue whilst providing a better return for creditors than what they would get if the company immediately winds up.
A DOCA is managed and monitored by the deed administrator and they will arrange a creditors meeting where the deed’s terms will be agreed upon. After the DOCA is approved the company must sign the deed within 15 business days, unless a longer time is allowed by the court.
Regardless of whether they voted for it or not, a DOCA binds all unsecured creditors. It also binds property owners that lease their property to the company or lease them to secured creditors if they voted in favour of the DOCA.
Need more information on what a DOCA is and how it can affect you and your business? Contact Australian Debt Solvers today on 1300 789 499 for a no obligation consultation.
Can you buy a company in a DOCA?
It is possible to purchase a company that is in the process of a DOCA. However, you should proceed with caution and understand that it is unlikely that the business will make any money for some time due to its debts and the DOCA terms.
The deed of company arrangement document should be studied carefully and professional legal advice should be sought before deciding to acquire a company in DOCA.
It is not possible to purchase a company that is in liquidation as the company does not exists but it may be possible to purchase its assets by contacting the deed administrator or liquidator.
Are you looking to purchase a company in DOCA? Australian Debt Solvers can assist you to ensure the process runs as smoothly as possible.
How long does a Deed of Company Arrangement go for?
A Deed of Company Arrangement runs for as long as its terms state in the document. One of the critical elements that a DOCA must include is the duration of the operation cessation of the period.
If a DOCA does not specify its end date or conditions concerning the end of the deed then the DOCA will not be valid.
The duration of the deed administrator’s involvement will also be detailed in the DOCA.
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