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Feltex receivership ends: ANZ $2.45M out of pocket

Feltex receivership ends: ANZ $2.45M out of pocket

By Paul McBeth

April 10 (BusinessDesk) - Failed carpetmaker Feltex's six and a half year receivership is over, and has left its lender Australia & New Zealand Banking Group out of pocket by A$2.45 million plus interest.

McGrathNicol's Kerry Downey wrapped up the Feltex Carpets receivership today, filing his final report to the Companies Office. As of today, ANZ has been repaid A$117.05 million of the A$119.5 million it was owed on Sept. 20, 2006 when it called in its loan. A separate liquidator's report in January put the forgone interest in excess of A$16 million.

Feltex was placed in receivership in September 2006 with unsustainable debt levels and following a share price collapse. All of its assets were sold to Australian rival Godfrey Hirst two months later.

The receivership left no surplus funds for unsecured creditors, though liquidators Iain McLennan and Peri Finnigan of McDonald Vague are pursuing a claim against accounting firm Ernst & Young, which audited Feltex’s accounts.

That hearing is scheduled for November, if not September.

Separately, some 3,000 shareholders led by Eric Houghton are pursuing a class suit over the way the carpetmaker was floated on the stock exchange in mid-2004, collapsing just two years later and destroying $254 million of value.

Joan Withers, the chair of the state-owned enterprise slated for partial privatisation next month, is among the directors defending the claim.

Other former directors in the gun are Tim Saunders, Sam Magill, John Feeney, Craig Horrocks, Peter Hunter, Peter David, along with Vendors Credit Suisse Private Equity and Credit Suisse First Boston Asian Merchant Partners, lead managers First NZ Capital and Forsyth Barr.

Earlier this week the Supreme Court granted Credit Suisse leave to challenge a Court of Appeal decision over whether some or all of the investors were time-barred from mounting a fresh challenge by the statute of limitation.

If the class action finally gets to court, the Feltex action will be divided into two stages. The first will hear Houghton’s entire case, with the second using the first for binding rulings on common claims.

The liquidator hasn't made a decision on whether to join the class suit.

(BusinessDesk)


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