More Eric Watson-linked companies, including the shell of Bendon Group, have been placed in liquidation following the collapse of Cullen Group.

Vivian Judith Fatupaito and Luke Norman of KPMG were appointed as joint liquidators of ten Cullen-owned companies by special shareholder resolutions on January 15, according to public notices.

The companies, which largely appear dormant, include: Cullen Equities Ltd, Cullen FX Ltd, Bendon Group, Cullen Equities UK Ltd, IP Holdings No.1 Ltd, Bendon Investments Ltd, IP Holdings No.2 Ltd, EPartners Ltd and Knockout Boxing Ltd.

Bendon Group was home to the lingerie company that Cullen bought in 2002 for $58.7 million. In 2018 Watson merged the business with US sleepwear company Naked Brand Group and later sold down his shareholding.


The merged company, listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange, has struggled and recently has been unable to rely on funding from Watson's Cullen group of companies after losing major battles with Inland Revenue and former business partner Sir Owen Glenn.

According to court documents Watson owes the tax department and Glenn a combined $200m.

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Fatupaito and Norman were previously appointed to 11 other Watson-linked companies after the High Court in December declined to halt insolvency proceedings against Cullen Group brought by Inland Revenue.

IRD had been pursuing the liquidation after Justice Matthew Palmer ruled last March that Cullen Group was part of Watson's "web of entities" designed to avoid paying non-resident withholding tax.

In their first report published on Christmas Eve, the liquidators said they were "still working to understand the extent of the assets held within the group".

A list of secured creditors in the Cullen liquidation includes the Bank of New Zealand, although the liquidators have established the bank has no amounts outstanding.

BNZ is still owed around $20m from Naked after it absorbed Bendon's debt to the bank.


The lingerie firm has been in breach of its banking covenants since December 2016 and had been relying on a guarantee from Watson's Cullen Group to keep the bank at bay.

It has since raised money from investors to help pay down debt.

Naked's latest financial statements showed a net loss of $28.7 million in the first half of the financial year, from $26.1m in the previous corresponding period. Sales sank 26 per cent to $42.1 million.