Postie Plus sale to Pepkor confirmed

CECILE MEIER AND MATT NIPPERT
Last updated 17:13 18/07/2014

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One of the country's oldest retailers has been sold to a South African retail investment group.

Administrators of Postie Plus announced this afternoon its sale to Roan Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Pepkor Limited.

The parties did not reveal what Pepkor paid for Postie Plus but understand it will be released later.

Pepkor is keeping the Postie Plus brand. It is Pepkor's first investment in New Zealand.

Postie head office staff and most of the retail store staff will be employed by Roan and chief executive Richard Binns stays to continue to lead the company.

Postie had 82 stores. A month ago administrators said 12 would close and today they added another four would close. 
Administrators said 530 of Postie's 560 staff had accepted jobs with Roan.

They said the deal involved the transfer of Postie's Auckland head office and 64 retail stores to Roan.

Many of the suppliers to Postie would be able to continue trading with Postie under the new owners.

Postie Plus was placed in the hands of administrators, PricewaterhouseCoopers, on June 3. Administration is a short-term measure to try to avoid liquidation.

Pepkor is a well established apparel and footwear retailer, originally based in South Africa, and now with retailing operations throughout Southern Africa, in Eastern Europe and Australia where its operations include the Best & Less and Harris Scarfe chains.

Administrator David Bridgman said he believed the sale was in the best interests of all creditors of Postie Plus and its staff.

The administrators confirmed four Postie stores would close and that 28 more staff will be made redundant in the process.

The administrators would now attend to post completion matters, including the calling of the Watershed Meeting for creditors as required under the rules governing voluntary administrations.

The business was sold as a going concern.

The union representing Postie's workers said yesterday it was considering legal action against the administrators.

First Union general secretary Robert Reid said they had been "extraordinarily tight-lipped" throughout the redundancies and failed to consult the union as required by employment rules.

"They seemed to believe they had no obligation to consult the union."

However, Reid said the union was happy to see a substantial number of stores would remain open.

Postie Plus is listed on the New Zealand sharemarket and trading in its shares was suspended on June 3 at 7.3 cents a share.

The company was founded on the West Coast and built into a large retailer by the Dellaca family. Family members have small shareholdings.

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