Christopher Adams

Christopher Adams is the Markets and Banking reporter for the New Zealand Herald

Nando's owner close to NZ sale

Receivers are close to finalising a sale of the company that runs the Nando's network in New Zealand, after the owner of the master franchise went into receivership last year.
Receivers are close to finalising a sale of the company that runs the Nando's network in New Zealand, after the owner of the master franchise went into receivership last year.

The company that runs the Nando's restaurant network in New Zealand had defaulted on royalty payments and owed $1.6 million to its bank when it went into receivership late last year, according to the first receivers' report.

And the report also suggests the receivers are close to finalising the sale of the firm.

Auckland-based Shivram, which has held the local master franchise for the 31-store spicy chicken chain since 2006, went into receivership on November 29 - the same day the Business Herald revealed the company was copping flak from a number of disgruntled current and former franchisees.

They said a lack of national marketing was stifling the chain's growth and that several franchisees were owed a substantial sums of money on loans they provided to the franchisor.

Nando's stores in New Zealand, which are independently owned, are not in receivership and continuing to operate as normal.

In the report receiver Kare Johnstone, of McGrathNicol, said that in the lead up to the receivership Shivram had defaulted on royalty payments due to the master franchisor for the region - Nando's Australia - and had been issued with a breach notice under its franchise agreement.

The company owed $1.6 million to Heartland Bank at the time of the receivers' appointment and interest was continuing to accrue on that amount, she said.

In December Shivram's sole director, Shailen Ramjee, said he and Heartland had agreed on the receivership, which would "protect the assets so that everyone can be paid" and avoid the franchise agreement being terminated by Nando's Australia.

At that time Heartland's chief risk officer, Mark Mountcastle, declined to reveal how much the bank was owed by Shivram.

Johnstone said that in addition to Heartland, chicken supplier Tegel Foods and Stratton Consulting had registered financing statements against Shivram.

Tegel had been repaid prior to the receivership, she added.

Johnstone said the receivers were still evaluating the amount claimed by unsecured creditors at the time of the receivership.

"Until the conclusion of the sale process the receivers are not in a position to determine what funds might be available to meet unsecured creditor claims," she said.

Jonhstone said a current statement of assets and liabilities for Shivram was not available at the time of the receivership and McGrathNicol was still working to finalise the company's financial position.

"Details relating to the company's assets have not been disclosed in this report as these are considered to be commercially sensitive in relation to the sale of the business."

Johnstone said the receivers were continuing to trade Shivram and the business been marketed widely on both sides of the Tasman.

"A number of offers to acquire the business have been received and the receivers are working to conclude the sales process," she said. "On completion of the sale process, the business and operations of the company will be transferred to the successful purchaser."

Nando's - best known for its flame grilled peri-peri chicken - was founded in South Africa in the late 1980s and now operates more than 1000 restaurants in 30 counties.

New Zealand's first Nando's store opened in Glenfield, on Auckland's North Shore, in 2000.

- NZ Herald

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