Learning Media creditors out of pocket

HAMISH RUTHERFORD
Last updated 17:15 04/12/2013

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Creditors of troubled state owned Learning Media will not be paid out in full, one of the first times a state owned enterprise has not honoured its debts.

Today Finance Minister Bill English and Education Minister Hekia Parata released a statement announcing the "managed wind-down of Learning Media has been completed".

The statement said the wind down was conducted in a way that provided for the provision of the School Journal to be transferred to a private company.

"Unfortunately, the company's financial situation meant that its largest creditors, including its bank, have not been paid in full," English said.

"As a company in its own right, Learning Media's debts were not guaranteed by the Government," the statement from English said.

The statement did not say whether creditors had accepted haircuts on what they were owed.
 
English and Parata announced in September that Learning Media was no longer financially viable and would be wound up, with more than 100 jobs affected.
 
The company has been in dispute with its landlords, Anaro Investments, as it attempted to get out of its lease on its Wellington headquarters which is due to last until April 2015.
 
Today Anaro Investments managing director Natalie Evans said that she had only learned that the process was complete through the media and was still hoping to negotiate a better settlement.

The current settlement offered by the Crown left the company $800,000 short, Evans said.

Oamaru-headquartered Anaro was in a "no-win situation" because it was still contractually obligated to Learning Media, which had sub-let some of the space to others.

As far as she was concerned however, negotiations were continuing.

"We didn't accept their pathetic offer; they're just saying 'well, have nothing then' I guess," Evans said.

She hoped media coverage of the story would cause the Government, as shareholders, to "come back with something more reasonable" Evans said.

Westpac, Learning Media's bank, has not yet provided comment.

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