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Kiwibank exposed to the tune of $30 million as Laybuy goes under having failed to find buyer

Technology / news
Kiwibank exposed to the tune of $30 million as Laybuy goes under having failed to find buyer

Buy now, pay later (BNPL) lender Laybuy has called in the receivers after suddenly suspending services and payments last week. From Monday, Laybuy Group Holdings Ltd, Laybuy Holdings Ltd and Laybuy Australia Pty Ltd are in receivership.

Deloitte New Zealand's David Webb and Robert Campbell have been appointed receivers and managers of Laybuy Group and Laybuy Holdings, whereas Glen Kanevsky and Jason Tracy of Deloitte Australia have been appointed for Laybuy Australia Pty Ltd.

Laybuy Group's UK businesses and other entities are not in receivership, Deloitte said.

Deloitte says its appointment was made at the request of the companies’ directors, after attempts to get additional investment and a sale of the business and/or assets.

“The decision to request the appointment of receivers was gut wrenching," Laybuy founder and managing director Gary Rohloff said in a statement.

"We were working hard to execute a plan to profitability, but this was impacted by a sharp deterioration in the retail environment. A deal to sell the business fell through at the last minute and this left the board with no option but to appoint receivers," he added.

Rohloff told that he is "absolutely heartbroken" by the decision to appoint receivers, saying he will do everything he can to support the Laybuy team as the company is being liquidated.

He attributed the company failure to a longer than expected economic downturn that has had a significant impact on the retail sector in New Zealand and the UK.

"As a result, we have seen reduced consumer spending, higher credit losses, and increased fraudulent activity. This, alongside increased financing costs, created a perfect storm that was difficult to recover from," Rohloff said.

As of June this year, Laybuy has over 10,500 merchant and around 500,000 users in NZ, Australia and the UK.

“While Laybuy is not currently accepting new transactions, customers should continue to make payments as normal, and no action is required to be made by consumers at this stage," receiver Webb said.

"The receivers are working with the directors to explore options as to whether a sale of the business can be achieved so that Laybuy can recommence enabling new transactions,” Webb added.

The company is understood to have 70 employees at its North Shore offices.

Laybuy's listing on the junior Catalist exchange says it has two capital facilities: one from Kiwibank at $30 million, maturing this month, and a second one from Britain's Partners for growth at £20 million (NZ$38.1 million). It is not known how much these facilities are drawn.

Catalist has 5426 shareholders listed for Laybuy, at a total value of approximately $5.38 million, down around 98% of its initial peak valuation.

Prior to Catalist, Laybuy was listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) but delisted in March last year, as its share price plunged to 3.7c.

The BNPL lender was set up by Rohloff in New Zealand in 2017, and had since expanded into the Australian and UK markets.

Although initially unregulated, BNPL lenders have increasingly been brought into consumer credit rules around the world, including in New Zealand. The sector grew rapidly initially, but as interest rates climbed and the economy worsened, several BNPL companies faced serious difficulties and shut down, like Genoapay in New Zealand.

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He attributed the company failure to a longer than expected economic downturn

You ain't seen nothing yet !


Yep. Another commercial lease bites the dust.


Who would have thought lending money to people who don't have money is not a sustainable business model.


Remarkable, isn't it?

I mentioned on the post made the other day (when Laybuy had "technical difficulties") that you only need to do some cursory browsing of the likes of the massive Afterpay Obsessives group on Facebook to see the extent to which BNPL customers - often all of a similar demographic, targeted aggressively by both BNPL providers and merchants - are often not in a position to be using such a credit product but are effectively hooked on it, even trying to find ways around the platform rules and restrictions.

As you say, there's a good reason this cohort has typically been "overlooked" by other credit providers.


Tell that to the big Aussie banks


"... customers should continue to make payments as normal..." Should, and will, might be two different things.


Yes this was the standout comment for me too.

Once the company is a gonner, I wonder how strongly they will go after people to pay up.

At that point it will be the receivers task. Would they want a quick resolution? Not sure.


The receivers will get every dollar owed you can be sure.


Another BNPL operator will buy the book so that 70 people out of a job.


Nah. BNPL operators will all be looking for a way out at the moment. The idea of spending more money they dont have to buy another failing book to save them selves is like jumping from a little sinking boat into a bigger , faster sinking one.

BNPL will return under a different name in about 8 years when we are experiencing another big boom and people forget the bust will come again.


It will be purchase for cents in the dollar not book value. Someone will get a bargain.


Dangerous to list on SX unless your PnL is going turbo and you want to extract as much value from retail as possible. As soon as you have a ticker you're at the mercy of market confidence.


Wasn’t paying attention yesterday, having to pull this provider this morning.

Good thing it was hardly used, I do wonder what might become of Afterpay….