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Receiver holding on for best ABC price [CA-NZ]

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Law, Tina
Publication Date: 
10 Jun 2009

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The sale of New Zealand's 127 ABC Learning Centres is being delayed as buyers try to wrangle a bargain price.

The chain of childcare centres and the College of Early Childhood Education in Christchurch are for sale after their Australian parent went into receivership in November, owing more than A$1 billion (NZ$1.27b).

Chris Cowan, of receivers McGrath Nicol, said the New Zealand business would not be given away.

"This business is performing very well and we're here to maximise the return. It's a good business and has a lot of potential," he said.

ABC employed 1410 permanent and 694 casual staff in New Zealand as well as 25 workers at the College of Education. It has 40 centres in the South Island including 26 in Christchurch.


Cowan would not say who the buyers were but it was understood Christchurch property developer Ireland Group one was of them.

Ireland Group chief executive Hamish Ireland did not return calls to BusinessDay, but was reported earlier this week saying he was a preferred bidder with McGrath Nicol.

Cowan said the buyers were a mix of parties from New Zealand and overseas. The successful buyer would need to get approval from the Ministry of Education, which issued centre licences.

Cowan said he expected it would take several weeks before a deal was reached.

Expressions of interest in the business were called for in December and more than 180 were received.

- reprinted from Business Day

Entered Date: 
10 Jun 2009
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