The big luxury Auckland waterfront Sofitel Viaduct Harbour hotel shut this month due to coronavirus and now liquidators have issued the names of creditors claiming money from that shock closure.
A long list of high-profile New Zealand and global businesses appear on the creditor schedule.
Tony Maginness and Jared Booth of Baker Tilly Staples Rodway have just issued their first report containing the names of those creditors.
ACC, Sky Network TV, Inland Revenue, Lane Neave Lawyers, Meridian Energy, Rentokil, Mitre 10 Retail, BOC, Fullers Group, Placemakers, businessman Prakash Pandey, electrical business J A Russell, NZ Post, Pandey Viaduct Suites, Resene Paints, Nestle NZ trading at Nespresso and the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron are on the list.
Vodafone, Watercare, Waste Management, St John Northern Region, Orbit Corporate Travel, Loaf Handcrafted Breads, Southern Hospitality, HRG New Zealand, Crown Tours and Travel, Deadline Express Couriers, CP Group and Auckland Council also appear, along with a long list of individual names which could indicate the overseas-based owners of the suites or rooms are claiming money.
The company in liquidation is Viaduct Quays Hotel, wholly owned by Prakash Pandey of C.P. Group, a businessman running the largest privately-owned New Zealand hotel chain established by his father, Charles Pandey.
Many of C.P. Group's properties are leased to Accor businesses which include Sofitel.
The liquidators explained the relationship between the company being liquidated and the global hotel chain.
"The company operated the Sofitel Viaduct Harbour in Auckland, which was managed externally and from leasehold premises," they said.
"The liquidators have been advised that the hotel ceased trade prior to the date of their appointment as a result of the Covid-19 epidemic which detrimentally impacted upon customer numbers.
"It could not be used as an isolation facility. The liquidators have been advised that the liquidation should not result in loss to third-party creditors. Subsequent to the date of the liquidators' appointment, all employee claims have been cleared," their report said.
Known assets are $347,823 cash in the bank as of last week, accounts' receivable including trade debtors and tax refunds due, inventory and leasehold property.
The liquidators were unable to confirm the total estimated realisable value of the assets as yet. They will need more time to investigate.
Liquidator fees are $430 to $490/hour with senior staff charging $240 to $320/hour and $100 to $185 per hour for support staff.
Viaduct Quays Hotel received a wage subsidy payout of $929,011.20 for 139 employees.
C.P. Group has about 30 hotels in New Zealand worth around $500m.
Ronnie Ronalde, group operations manager of the five-year-old CPG Hotels, explained why a renovation of the Fat Camel ex-backpackers in Auckland's CBD had begun.
"We're doing it now because we started on plans a year ago. The international market is done but in the next one to two years it will come back," Ronalde said this month.
A 65-room five-star hotel with street-front restaurant is planned in the conversion of an existing budget hotel, aiming to reposition a well-known property near Auckland's waterfront.
The $6.9m project by CPG Hotels will see the Fat Camel Hostel on the corner of Gore St and Fort St upgraded in a contract awarded to Fairview Construction.
Prakash Pandey, a director of C.P. Group, said the new boutique hotel would cater to an entirely different market.
Dark paint and sharply contrasting neon are planned in the interior decor.
During the early 1990s, C.P. Group was originally run from that Fat Camel property at 38 Fort St, he recalled. His father, Charles Pandey, immigrated here from Singapore in 1992 to be initially based there
"He came here to retire, but it didn't last long," Prakash Pandey said of the business where Charles's four sons now work: Prakash, Rakesh, Dinesh and Niklesh.
And in the ultimate immigrant-made-good fable, the business has gone global: "Since its incorporation in New Zealand in 1993, C.P. Group has experienced remarkable growth and has amassed a considerable, strategic property portfolio across New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, the Finlands and the United States."
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