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Postie Plus sold as going concern to Sth Africa's Pepkor

Postie Plus sold as going concern to Sth African investment group

By Pattrick Smellie

July 18 (BusinessDesk) - Ailing clothing retailer Postie Plus has been sold for an undisclosed sum as a going concern to Roan Ltd, a subsidiary of Pepkor, a South African-based investment group with clothing and footwear retail interests in Australia and Eastern Europe.

News of the deal began to leak after staff received letters on Roan letterhead. Some 530 of the Auckland-based company's 560 staff have accepted positions with the new owner.

Postie Plus shares have been suspended from trading on the NZX since May 29, and last traded on May 27 at 7.3 cents, giving the company prior to the notification that it was going into voluntary administration a value of $2.9 million.

Despite a long trading history, Postie Plus ran into distribution chain and other difficulties when it outsourced warehousing operations to a third party when it shifted its headquarters to Auckland in 2012/13 and the company has been "vigorously pursuing" a damages claim.

"We believe this sale is in the best interests of all creditors and Postie Plus staff," said administrators David Bridgman and Colin McCloy of accounting firm PwC, in a statement. "Many of the Postie Plus suppliers will be able to continue trading with Postie Plus under its new ownership", which was first signalled in a statement on June 4.

In April, Postie Plus said it was in breach of its lending covenants and expected to remain so “for the foreseeable future,” meaning its bank funding was repayable on demand, though the arrangements it had in place with its bank were sufficient to meet the company’s forecast funding requirements up to July 30.

The voluntary administration had led to a "better outcome ... for creditors than would have occurred had the company been placed in receivership."

Pepkor's website shows the company has extensive interests throughout southern Africa and Nigeria, in Poland and Slovakia, and through three businesses in Australia, including the Harris Scarfe and the Best & Less brands. It has been trading since 1965.

Postie Plus has 64 retail stores located throughout New Zealand.


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