Dick Smith loss close to $100m

Nearly 3,000 staff lost their jobs as a result, including 430 in New Zealand. Photo / Nick Reed
Nearly 3,000 staff lost their jobs as a result, including 430 in New Zealand. Photo / Nick Reed

The receivers' first report on the failed Dick Smith Electronics NZ chain has estimated there's likely to be a net loss of nearly $98 million to priority creditors even before the costs of selling assets are considered.

Ferrier Hodgson was appointed receiver and managers of the Australian company and its related subsidiaries in early January and said last month that it was closing all 62 stores in New Zealand and around 300 in Australia progressively over the next seven weeks.

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That decision followed an unsuccessful sales process where despite receiving a significant amount of expressions of interest, the receivers said no acceptable offers had resulted for either the company as a standalone business or all of the group.

Nearly 3,000 staff lost their jobs as a result, including 430 in New Zealand.

The receivers' first report for local holding company DSE (NZ) lodged with the Companies Office says the chain owed $137 million (A$127 million) to secured lenders including Westpac Banking Corp and the National Australia Bank, with the debt cross-collateralised across the whole group's assets.

That means returns to New Zealand creditors are dependent on what's realised within other entities of the group rather than just the NZ operation.

A further $5.6 million is owed to New Zealand-based secured creditors who are mainly IT and telco companies, including Apple Sales New Zealand and Spark New Zealand.

Priority creditors which include employee claims and the Inland Revenue Department are owed $3.4 million and unsecured creditors, comprised predominantly of trade creditors and suppliers, are owed $11.6 million.

The report said at this date a related party loan of $11.2 million is also payable by the NZ company to Dick Smith Holdings and a contingent claim of $45,871 in respect of a rental bond guarantee liability issued by the secured lenders may be called upon at a later time.

In terms of assets, the company had $5.9 million worth of plant and equipment but the company records didn't include intellectual property and trademarks as an asset.

At the date of the receiver's appointment the company had three bank accounts with $2.1 million with a further point of sale floats over its NZ stores of $55,650 and cash in transit of $739,849.

The receiver is continuing to collect total debts of $5.4 million but was unable to provide an estimate of the realisable value. Related party receivables from Dick Smith Electronics Pty Ltd were $14.4 million but the recovery of that amount was uncertain.

As the receivers are currently undertaking a fire-sale of stock as the stores close, they were unable to estimate how much will be realised from the current inventory of $32.8 million.

The receivers said it wasn't practical to estimate a completion date for the receivership at this time.

- BusinessDesk

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