Jasons Travel Media in receivership

LAURA WALTERS
Last updated 15:43 29/11/2013

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NZAX-listed tourism marketing company Jasons Travel Media has suspended trading after being placed in receivership and breaching stock exchange listing rules.

The company, which distributes travel information in print and online, said today it had stopped trading on the stock exchange after being placed in receivership yesterday.

Jasons Travel Media said given the company's rapidly deteriorating financial position, the unlikely prospects of a recovery in the short term, and the consequential need to protect creditors and preserve the assets of the company, the board had asked ANZ to appoint a receiver.

According to the Companies Office, Craig Crosbie, of business advisory and insolvency company PPB Advisory, had been appointed as receiver.

PPB Advisory New Zealand managing partner David Webb said in a written statement the receivers were conducting an urgent review of the business. The business would continue to operate as normal, and all staff would be paid their wages throughout the review process, he said.

Receivers were also in discussions with several unnamed parties who had expressed an interest in purchasing Jasons, he said.

A PPB spokesperson said information, including how much was owed to creditors and the implications for shareholders, would come to light during the review.

Cabinet minister Steven Joyce was  the chief executive of Jasons from 2006 until 2008.

It said on its website that it was "business as usual" at the moment.

Debtors should pay their accounts as soon as possible, as all money received would assist the company to continue operating in the short term, Jasons said.

The company's chairman and managing director John Sandford would not take BusinessDay's calls relating to the receivership.

In June the company reported a $1.6 million net loss for the year to March 31, compared to a net profit of $114,000 the previous year. At the time the company said its results were "very disappointing" but it had a robust business plan to return to profit by March 2014.

The company attributed its lack of profitability to tough market conditions, especially in Australia.

At its annual shareholders' meeting in September Jasons said it was scaling back its Australian operations and focusing on New Zealand and the South Pacific.

Jasons Travel Media also had debtor management problems and had breached banking covenants, it said in September.

When the results were released auditors Hayes Knight Audit NZ said the fact that the company's liabilities exceeded its assets by more than $4m was a concern.

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The auditor said the conditions indicated the existence of "material uncertainty" that could cast "significant doubt" on the company's ability to continue.

The company was also censured by the New Zealand Markets Disciplinary Tribunal for breaching listings rules yesterday.

Jasons had only two directors from June 28 to August 9, the tribunal said.

The company was fined $6000 and $3200 in costs to the stock exchange regulatory body as well as the tribunal's costs.

According to the Companies Office, the company was first incorporated in 1947 under the name Jason Publishing Co.

It evolved into a travel information company and was restructured as Jasons Travel Media in 2000.

The company was listed on the NZAX five years later.

- Fairfax Media

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