Oceania

PwC advised Property Ventures (PVL) on ways to continue trading when by some accounts it was insolvent while at the same time giving David Henderson's failed property development company a clean bill of health as statutory auditor, the liquidators allege, The New Zealand Herald reported. Liquidator Robert Walker alleges that if not for PwC, the company would have been wound up in 2007, allowing loans to be called in, asset sales and a more orderly liquidation. Instead it trundled on until 2010, when it failed owing $69 million and was later put into liquidation.
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Liquidators have recovered a further $35,000 from clients who go more money out than they put into an alleged Ponzi scheme. A Christchurch forex firm, which traded as BlackfortFX, has been in receivership since May 2015 after the Financial Markets Authority froze its assets and it was put into liquidation shortly after, The New Zealand Herald reported. Liquidators say the company owes about 1110 clients about $7 million and its sole director, Jimmie Kevin McNicholl, has been charged with obtaining by deception Serious Fraud Office.
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The number of companies listed on the New Zealand sharemarket will continue to shrink this year, according a forecast on the capital markets. Law firm Chapman Tripp has released a trends and insights report on New Zealand's Equity Markets and is predicting more departures from the NZX and just three new companies to list - a number in line with previous years, The New Zealand Herald reported.
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The Reserve Bank of Australia frequently seeks feedback on the health of the economy. It might want to call the debt counselors soon. Homeowners, consumers and property investors around Australia are making more calls to financial helplines as three warning signs back up the spike in demand: mortgage arrears are creeping up, lenders’ bad debt provisions have increased and personal insolvencies are near an all-time high, Bloomberg News reported.
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U.K. Green Investment Bank Plc, the state lender put up for sale by the government, will be dramatically restructured if it’s sold to Macquarie Group Ltd., according to two people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg News reported. Australian bank Macquarie, seen as one of the most likely buyers, would divide the Green Investment Bank, or GIB, into at least two units, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because discussions are confidential. One or more would manage existing loans while another would work on deals yet to reach financial close, the people said.
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The receivers of Pumpkin Patch will have all stores closed by mid-February after they couldn't entice a buyer for the failed children's wear chain, which traded through the traditionally busy holiday period, The New Zealand Herald reported. Sixty-eight stores employing 560 people will close by Jan. 31, and the remaining 56 stores across New Zealand and Australia will shut as and when stock is sold, through the middle of next month, receiver Neale Jackson of KordaMentha said in a statement. Pumpkin Patch staff at head office will lose their jobs over the coming weeks.
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Australia’s economy added jobs in December, although not enough to prevent the unemployment rate edging up as participation in the workforce increased, Bloomberg News reported. December’s data caps a volatile year for Australian jobs, as declining participation for much of 2016 signaled more spare capacity than improved hiring figures suggested. There is some cause for optimism as participation picked up and full-time roles climbed toward the end of the year.
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Pumpkin Patch Owes ANZ Bank $59.5 Million

Pumpkin Patch owes its bank nearly $60 million and its unsecured creditors another $13.2m. A receivers' report by Brendon Gibson and Neale Jackson of KordaMentha shows the children's clothing company, which was put into receivership in October, owed $59.5m, chiefly to the ANZ. Preferred creditors, largely the 1600 staff it employed in the lead-up to its receivership, were still owed $1.5m. Inland Revenue had not submitted a claim yet. It was too early to say whether the $13.2m owed to unsecured creditors could be retrieved, the report said.
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Millionaire property magnates the Chow brothers have been forced to buy a fire services company to protect a bank loan they bought earlier this year, Business Day reported. Michael and John Chow, with their business partner Clint Webber, made a quick decision to buy AFS Total Fire Protection after the Inland Revenue Department threatened to put the company into liquidation on Friday. AFS Total Fire Protection designs, builds and installs fire protection systems to making sure building complies with fire regulations.
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All 132 stores in the Payless Shoes network will close by February 2017, after administrators for the retail chain were unable to find a buyer for the business as a whole, SmartCompany.com.au reported. Administrators from Ferrier Hodgson said on Wednesday afternoon approximately 730 employees will be affected by the closures, although some employee contracts may be transferred to interested parties throughout the closure process. The administrators said they will now work with “interested parties and landlords” to transfer or close the Payless Shoes stores.
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