South Canterbury Finance's receivers say they have already received a "significant" number of enquiries from potential buyers and are working with the Crown to compile a co-ordinated register of interest in the failed finance company's assets.
In their first formal statement since their appointment last Tuesday, receivers Kerryn Downey and William Black of McGrathNicol urged potential buyers of SCF's assets and subsidiaries to register their interest with them.
Downey and Black said they had worked closely with SCF's senior management and staff to evaluate the status of the companies comprising the SCF Group, and had made "considerable" progress in assessing and stabilising SCF's operations.
"Over the past week, we have secured the support of senior management and staff, and we are now working with them, and with other stakeholders, to plan how we will support the continuing business operations of the Group, and to begin preparing the Group's assets for a formal sale process," Downey and Black said.
More details on the sales process would be released soon, but interested parties should contact them directly, added Downey and Black.
They also expected to update SCF customers this week on various issues affecting ongoing business operations, including funding arrangements.
SCF was placed in receivership last Tuesday after trying, unsuccessfully, to bring in about NZ$180 million of fresh equity. This was needed to bring the company back into line with its Trust Deed after receiving a waiver for the breach from trustee Trustees Executors that expired last Tuesday, August 31. The receivership triggered a NZ$1.8 billion taxpayer bailout of SCF investors and senior ranked creditors under the Crown Retail Deposit Guarantee Scheme.
SCF chief executive Sandy Maier told interest.co.nz last week the group's various business units had been "closely intertwined for a long time” and SCF would be best sold in whole. Maier said with Forsyth Barr's help he had tried unsuccessfully to sell SCF for nine months.
The various arms of SCF include its “Bad Bank” which holds about NZ$700 million worth of toxic loans, its “Good Bank” which holds about NZ$900 million of small ticket rural lending, Helicopters NZ, a 79.7% stake in Scales Corporation and 33% stake in dairy farming group Dairy Holdings.
Maier said SCF had been in talks with three parties prior to the receivership. He declined to name them citing confidentiality agreements but described them as;
1) A large South East Asian/United States Trust. He said it had entered the process late and was in talks up until early yesterday morning.
2) A consortium, partially overseas and partially local with an “excellent” quality of people. Maier said it was “interested in things but we didn’t think the price and terms were right.”
3) Another offshore group that has some investment history in New Zealand. This group also negotiated right up till the bitter end.
Clearwater Capital Partners is thought to be number 1, with interests associated with Duncan Saville, the Sydney-based major investor in both Infratil and Australian non-bank lender Resimac, also thought to have been among the three parties.