Mao Bar closes in debt

23:00, Jan 31 2013

A Palmerston North restaurant that abruptly shut its doors has more than $250,000 in debts but only $700 in the bank.

Mao Bar closed last week after its parent company, Alan Rowell Investments Ltd, was placed into liquidation.

Owner Alan Rowell initially said he would comment on the closure, but has since changed his mind.

However, a message posted on Mao Bar's Facebook page by Mr Rowell outlined why he closed the bar.

"It is with great sadness that I have closed Mao Bar and put it into liquidation.

"Business conditions were just too tough and we weren't profitable.


"On behalf of my wonderful staff I wish to thank all our loyal patrons and friends. We will miss you all."

The first liquidation report, signed off by Lyn Carey from McKenzie and Partners and released this week, said the company owed creditors $266,418.

About $218,000 of that was unpaid GST and PAYE taxes, while $20,000 was owed to ANZ Bank.

The report said it was highly unlikely all debts would be paid, as Alan Rowell Investments had only $100,700 in assets.

Chattels from the bar made up $98,000 of that, and stock another $2000.

However, there was only $700 left in the company's bank accounts.

The report said liquidators were looking to sell the assets for the best price possible, but it was highly unlikely any unsecured creditors would be paid.

Unsecured creditors are owed a total of $37,022.45.

Among them are Davis Trading, The Village Wine Trader, Contact Energy, Palmerston North City Council and ANZ.

It is not the first time a Mao Bar owner has had trouble paying taxes.

Former owner Richard Soper was found guilty of 55 tax evasion charges dating from October 2009 to October 2010 after failing to pay Inland Revenue $114,429 in taxes while he ran the bar.

He purchased Mao Bar from his partner, Tina Louise Hulena. Her company, Takau Bay Developments, was also put into liquidation because of unpaid tax.

Ms Carey did not return calls.

Manawatu Standard