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Surprise new bidder joins chase for ABC [NZ]

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Author: 
Slade, Maria
Publication Date: 
4 Jun 2009
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A new bidder has thrown its hat into the ring to acquire the New Zealand arm of troubled Australian childcare chain ABC Learning Centres.

Despite the spectacular collapse of the ABC empire across the Tasman, ABC's 127 childcare centres in New Zealand escaped the receivers and are being sold as a going concern.

Local general manager Craig Presland has been promising a conclusion to the sale process for several months, but yesterday said a surprise new bidder had entered the frame.

...

He said the new potential buyer was a large childcare provider. He would not say whether it was local.

McGrath Nicol, receivers of ABC Learning Centres, were handling the sale and hoped to make a decision by June 30.

The intention was still to sell all 127 centres and the College of Early Childhood Education together.

Presland said the business was tracking well with around 84 per cent occupancy in the centres, and it had been profitable each month since he started in October.

...

An unusual stoush has developed over who should handle the liquidation of an ABC Learning Centres-related company.

The 123 Global group existed to develop and sell childcare centres to ABC on both sides of the Tasman.

As a result of the ABC receivership, 123 Global went into administration. Three of its New Zealand subsidiaries went into liquidation earlier this year.

Deloitte was appointed by 123 Global Holdings (Australasia) to handle the liquidations of 123 Global (NZ) and 123 Operations.

...

It is understood that a major creditor, Christchurch property developer Ireland Group, objects to Deloitte on the grounds of conflict of interest as the firm was appointed by 123 Global.

Considerable sums are involved - 123 Global (NZ) is estimated to owe $19.3 million, while ABC Acquisitions owes around $16.8 million. It is not yet known what 123 Operations' debts are.

One of the major creditors of the group is the New Zealand ABC operation.

- reprinted from the New Zealand Herald

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Entered Date: 
10 Jun 2009
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