Oceania

Williams and Adams, Wellington's longest established and largest motor vehicle dealership, has gone into liquidation, The National Business Review reported. John Fisk of PricewaterhouseCoopers said Williams family shareholders met yesterday afternoon and passed a resolution to put the company into liquidation. The owners of the fourth generation family business had taken the failure of the business hard, he said. The company employs 115 staff and has 10 sites. It sells Holden, HSV, SAAB, Hummer, Jaguar and Land Rover brands.
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Australian Discount Retail Ltd., owner of the Crazy Clark’s/Go-Lo chain of variety stores, will be sold after a syndicate of lenders owed A$96 million ($63 million) appointed a receiver, Bloomberg reported. The first step will be to sell ADR’s Crazy Clark’s/Go-Lo, and Sam’s Warehouse businesses, receiver Ferrier Hodgson Corporate Communications Director Michael Cave said in a telephone interview. ADR, which has 402 stores and 2,700 workers, was created in 2005 by private equity firms Catalyst and CHAMP.
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A Chinese court has declared bankrupt the company at the center of a scandal over tainted milk, blamed for killing six children and sickening almost 300,000 more, one of the company's owners said Wednesday. New Zealand's Fonterra Group said that a court in Shijiazhuang, in China's Hebei province, had issued a bankruptcy order against Sanlu Group Co. in response to a petition from a creditor, the Associated Press reported. The receiver will have six months to conclude the sale process.
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Accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers' insolvency practice, headed by receiver John Waller, has earned more than $6 million in fees from work on finance company receiverships, Companies Office filings show. That is more than two-thirds of the $9.2 million or so in receivers' fees charged so far on about 30 finance companies that have failed over the past three years, The New Zealand Herald reported today. The figures do not include hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars more in legal and advisory fees associated with receivers' work.
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A downturn in sales in recent months has forced DVD retailer EzyDVD into receivership, The Australian reported. The Adelaide-based company has 58 outlets across Australia including 26 company-owned stores and 32 franchised outlets. Only company-owned stores, which employ more than 200 staff, have been placed in receivership. Ferrier Hodgson partner David Kidman has been appointed receiver and manager of the company. As well as a sales slump, Mr Kidman said EzyDVD's financial difficulties stemmed from a significant debt burden and substantial operating losses in 2007 and 2008.
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Centro Properties Group, one of Australia's highest profile casualties of the global credit crisis, was given a lifeline on Tuesday when lenders agreed to refinance $4.65 billion in overdue debt, Reuters reported. Without the refinancing, Centro could have been forced into administration by its creditors, potentially triggering a fire sale of retail properties in the United States, Australia and New Zealand. Centro has been struggling to sell shopping centres to help pay down debt after credit markets froze following its rapid expansion in the United States last year.
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Fifty-five childcare centres will close and 241 are on taxpayer life-support after the Rudd government gave ABC Learning $34 million yesterday to guarantee care for 20,000 children until the end of March, The Australian reported. The receiver for ABC Learning says 55 of its 720 childcare centres across Australia will close, and has chosen the 720 most profitable centres to sell to recoup $1.6 billion owed to banks by the failed childcare chain. But 241 unviable centres will be packaged into a subsidiary company and effectively handed over to the government to manage.
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Central banks world-wide delivered sweeping interest rate cuts Thursday, even as the continuing turmoil in credit markets means cuts in rates are losing their power to curtail an accelerating global slowdown, The Wall Street Journal reported. Major European central banks, including the European Central Bank, the Bank of England and Sweden's Riksbank joined the central banks of New Zealand and Indonesia in making deep rate cuts. The goal: to stave off deep and painful slowdowns in the wake of financial market turmoil that has squeezed lending globally.
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An investor group is going to court to try to delay Tuesday's vote on a restructuring proposal for failed New Zealand finance company Hanover, The National Business Review reported today. The group has also asked the Minister of Commerce to put Hanover into statutory management. The group expects a hearing to be held at the High Court in Auckland on Monday. Hanover Finance is aiming to repay nearly 16,400 secured deposit investors their principal of more than $550 million within five years, under the debt restructure proposal.
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