More than one party interested in Postie Plus

JOHN ANTHONY
Last updated 05:00 13/06/2014

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More than one potential buyer has expressed interest in buying Postie Plus, creditors of the troubled retailer have been told.

Postie Plus administrator David Bridgman, of PwC, said at a creditors' meeting in Auckland yesterday that an overseas company was conducting due diligence on whether it should buy the nationwide clothing retailer.

"We believe the sale of the business as a going concern is by far and away the best option for creditors," he said.

NZX-listed Postie Plus went into voluntary administration last week and its shares have been in a trading halt since then although it's been business as usual for its retail stores.

Bridgman said Postie Plus would be a logical purchase for the interested buyer because of the industry it worked in.

"This is strategically a good fit for them."

Early signs were looking promising that a sale would proceed and a verdict should be known later this month, he said.

If the company decided not to buy, there were others that had expressed interest, Bridgman said.

Postie Plus has known liabilities conservatively worth $22 million and assets estimated at $25.5m, he said.

Its key assets include inventory, leasehold premises and intellectual property.

The company has 1680 shareholders and more than 200 creditors, with the Bank of New Zealand the primary creditor, owed $13.5m. Postie Plus owes a further $3.8m to its remaining creditors, $800,000 to employees and $3.9m in tax, including GST.

The company employs 650 staff, most of whom work in its 82 retail stores nationwide.

About 50 creditors attended the meeting, at which a creditors' committee was formed.

It would be followed by a watershed meeting at which the administrator calls in creditors to decide the future of the company.

It must occur within 20 working days after the date the administrator is appointed unless an extension is granted by the courts. PwC has applied for an extension until September 1.

It has also requested that a full financial report extension be granted until that date, he said.

Woodhouse Apparel managing director Gwenda Reece, which has been in business with Postie Plus for about 10 years, said the requested watershed meeting extension was a concern.

"That's very long-winded. You would think there would be the need to move quicker."

Yesterday's creditors meeting was a good opportunity to ask questions but overall information was lacking, she said.

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