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Intueri liquidators hire lawyers, gets advice on possible suit 'against various parties'

Monday 26th March 2018

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The liquidators of Intueri Education Group, which had its salvageable assets sold under administration last year, hired lawyers and got advice on possible legal action against parties associated with the failed education provider.

"We are currently reviewing the merits of pursuing these actions and cannot comment further in relation to possible litigation," William Black and Connor McElhinney of McGrathNicol said in their second report as liquidators. They were previously the voluntary administrators from June 1 to Sept. 1 last year and in that role had flagged the potential for legal action without being specific.

In the latest six-months ended Feb. 28, the company took in $6.5 million in receipts, of which $5.7 million was funds transferred from the administration. It made total payments of $6.3 million, of which $6.2 million went to the secured creditor.

The company was placed into voluntary administration at the start of June last year after a strategic review attracted an offer for its operating assets for less than the $70.7 million owed to ANZ Bank New Zealand, meaning the lender would be forced to take a loss.

In July last year, the administrators, said Auckland-based ACG, which was bought by Australia's Pacific Equity Partners in 2015, had completed its purchase of the Intueri New Zealand schools, including the New Zealand Institute of Sport, the New Zealand College of Massage, Global Education Group trading as NSIA The Professional Hospitality Academy, and Intueri Education New Zealand trading as Cut Above Academy, Design and Arts College of New Zealand, Academy New Zealand, and Elite International School of Beauty and Spa Therapies. No price was disclosed.

As administrators, Black and McElhinney had concluded liquidation, "given that there was no other viable alternative and that all of the assets of the companies had been sold."

Questions about the company predate the administration. In April 2017 the Serious Fraud Office dropped an investigation into enrollments at its defunct Quantum Education Group, whiles its operations were also investigated by the Tertiary Education Commission. 

Intueri's 2014 initial public offering at $2.35 a share allowed vendor Arowana International to net about $102 million while selling its stake down to 24.9 percent and provided $60 million to pay for the acquisition of Quantum. In its 2015 year, Intueri wrote down the value of Quantum by $53.1 million, including wiping $27 million off the value of the school's brand and goodwill to take it down to zero. Its shares slumped to 1 cent last May and it went into voluntary administration on June 1.


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