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Banks Shoes chain sold for $2.3 mln, covering BNZ loan

Wednesday 17th January 2018

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Failed footwear chain Banks Group's business sold for $2.3 million to a group of investors led by the former owner's son Jeremy Bank, all but covering an outstanding loan to Bank of New Zealand. 

The latest report by receivers John Fisk and David Bridgman of PwC show Shoe Co paid $1.6 million for Banks Group's fixed assets and a further $666,000 for stock in July last year. The buyer also made a $50,000 payment towards the receivers' expenses. Banks Group was tipped into receivership in May 2017 at the request of director John Bank after struggling with cash flow after a period of rapid expansion. 

Shoe Co, which counts Jeremy Bank as its third-biggest shareholder and one of two directors with Matthew West, "provided the best price reasonably obtainable at the date of the transaction," PwC's Fisk said in his report. "The sale of the business has now settled and included all trading assets of the business and stock." 

BNZ, the retailer's first ranking secured creditor, was paid about $1.5 million leaving $54,000 outstanding at the date of the report, which Fisk said would be crystallised or released in February. 

The shoe retailer operated under the Banks Shoes and Shoe Connection brands, and had built a network of 14 stores across the country before calling in receivers last year. It started life in 1938 with a Banks Shoes store in Lower Hutt, expanding its footprint through the Wellington region through the latter half of the 20th century and branched out to Christchurch in 2001 and Auckland in 2013.

That expansion sought to see off the increasingly tough retail environment but was ultimately unsuccessful, and just five stores plus the online store were part of the sale to Shoe Co. Between May 26 and Nov. 25, the stores generated trading receipts totalling $1.6 million and paid wages of $487,000. Another $347,000 covered employee entitlements to 141 staff. 

The receivers expect a $233,000 bill from the Inland Revenue Department and $27,000 from Customs New Zealand, which they said can be covered by the $293,000 of cash on hand. 

They're also talking to the retailer's insurer over a claim arising before their appointment and are aware of one book debt owed to the company. 

Any leftover funds are expected to go to BNZ, and Fisk said the receivers don't anticipate any available funds for the second-ranking creditor - the owner's family trust is owed $2.4 million from a series of loans in the two years leading up to the receivership - or non-preferential creditors. 

(BusinessDesk)

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