Articles

Last week's Supreme Court judgement on Jennings Roadfreight Limited (In Liquidation) has overruled an earlier Court of Appeal ruling and provided clarification on a legal grey area. The Supreme Court has decided in a unanimous decision that amounts due to the IRD rank behind liquidators, employees and Kiwisaver entitlements' to funds in a bank account at the commencement of a company liquidation. The history and details of the case are as follows.  JENNINGS ROADFREIGHT LIMITED (IN LIQUIDATION) and BORIS VAN DELDEN and PERI MICAELA FINNIGAN AS LIQUIDATORS OF JENNINGS ROADFREIGHT LIMITED (IN LIQUIDATION) v COMMISSIONER OF INLAND REVENUE Jennings Roadfreight Limited (Jennings) was placed into liquidation on 24 March 2011. Its liquidators are Boris van Delden and Peri Finnigan of…
It seems like a typically Kiwi thing to do - a couple of mates decide to go into business together and start up a company to operate the business.  Everything is split down the middle - each director owning 50% of the shares and all agreed on a handshake. What could go wrong? The recent liquidation of a small business shows just what can happen.  Things went well for the first couple of years.  Business was going okay and making a small profit but then things started to go wrong. The relationship broke down between the shareholders and got to the stage where they couldn't agree on anything to do with the business including staff management and business direction. Legal…
Cloud Software Claimed Users Xero 371,000 plus LinkedIn 260 million plus Dropbox 300 million plus Google – Email 500 million plus Increasingly, we are using the Cloud to create, manage and store documents, such as through Xero, LinkedIn, Dropbox and Google. However, the Cloud is unique in that control of the documents passes outside of your physical possession and onto someone else's computer, which is often overseas.   Consequentially, there are several issues that a business owner needs to be aware of.  - How secure is your data and how much control do you have over it once it is in the Cloud? Often, you will have no idea where the data is stored, you have no idea how the…
On 15 September 2014, insolvency and business recovery specialists McDonald Vague advised 288 former employees and unsecured creditors totalling $13.112 million that a total dividend pay-out of 100 cents in the dollar had been made to most of them. Given that this was a large corporate failure with initial unsecured claims in excess of $25 million this is a significant pay-out. Early on in the liquidation it looked like creditors would face a nil dividend.  The steps taken to achieve this result include: Engaging in, and winning, a significant arbitration award relating to DML's mining operations at Waihi. Establishing the unsecured creditors' position by disputing and settling several significant unsecured claims for amounts primarily owed by other companies related to…
There are approximately 500,000 small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in New Zealand, most operating without a formal board.  Often there is no separation between family, management and governance. An increasing amount of our work at McDonald Vague is involved in providing independent reviews focusing on restructuring and governance with the aim of helping companies lay the foundations to grow in to larger, more profitable businesses and avoid the mistakes we see time and time again.  Why an independent review? Typically, the need for an independent review is initiated when a particular issue or concern is identified.  This can provide an opportunity to introduce a sound corporate governance process that can not only solve the issue or concern itself, but set…
Did you know that not using the Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) could expose your business to unnecessary risk?  Despite the fact that the online register celebrated its 10th anniversary in May this year, a surprising number of small business owners are not aware of the reduced financial risk that comes with registering security interests on the PPSR.  Registering your security interest on the PPSR may give you a better chance of recovering a debt if your debtor defaults. (Note:  Suppliers of stock need to register before delivery and suppliers of equipment need to register within 10 working days of delivery).  What a lot of people don't realise is registering on the PPSR is a valid defence against Insolvent Transaction…
Statutory demands - minimising bad debts is critical for any business  Debt collection is difficult for business owners.  Pursuing bad debts early on improves any chance of receiving payment.  A creditor that puts the most pressure on a debtor will most likely receive their money before others; however, they need to be conscious of the voidable transaction regime when they are dealing with an insolvent company.  If you are owed a debt and that debt is not in dispute and you suspect the company you have been trading with may be insolvent, you can issue a statutory demand against the company.  Depending on your terms of trade, a statutory demand will require the debtor to pay you the outstanding debt,…
It is an unfortunate fact that many companies experience financial difficulties at times.  Often the directors/shareholders do not realise that there are a number of options available to them.  This article provides an overview of the various options for distressed companies.   Creditors compromise  A compromise is an agreement between a company and its creditors.  The purpose is to enable a company to trade out of its financial difficulties and thus avoid administration, receivership or liquidation.  In this way the company can survive into the future and provide continuing business to creditors.   There are two basic features of most compromises:   Creditors will be repaid in full or in part over a period.  If creditors are paid in part they write off…
SMEs make up a large part of the insolvency work that we at McDonald Vague handle and the reasons for those insolvencies range from events beyond the control of the company directors to a complete lack of knowledge and understanding as to what is required of them.   In this article we will look at some of the causes, symptoms and actions that can be taken to recover companies facing financial difficulties.   Causes of company failure The causes of company failures, as reported to us by directors, are many and varied and the real reason is not always identified correctly by the directors. There are, however, common themes that come through which include:   1. Having all their eggs…
The Insolvency Act 2006 was implemented on 3 September 2006, and created a new alternative to bankruptcy called the No Asset Procedure ("NAP").  This involves a one year term, rather than the usual three year term in bankruptcy.   The NAP is simply a once-off reprieve for the consumer type small-time debtor who has got out of their financial depth.  To qualify, the debtor must have no assets (except excluded assets - see below), total debts between $1,000 and $40,000, no means to repay any amount, and a clean financial record (not previously bankrupt and not previously admitted to the NAP).   Once admitted to the NAP, the debtor enjoys a moratorium on their debts; with some exceptions these cannot…
Background McDonald Vague partners have been appointed receivers on a number of major appointments, including the recent receivership of Tawera Land Company Limited "TLC". This is an entity owning millions of dollars of farmland associated with bankrupt businessman Ken Thurston. Mr Thurston (formerly a director of 14 other companies) had a rocky financial period which reached its climax in October 2010 when he was adjudicated bankrupt. Since then a number of his companies have failed. TLC owned and operated significant land holdings in the Manawatu and Taumarunui regions comprising 15,000 acres. Over the past six months, our Agri-Business team has managed the farming operations which include a dairy farm as well as sheep and beef farms. One significant event was…
Rule number one in insolvency is to "secure the asset".The recent catastrophes around the world have had a dramatic effect on the New Zealand insurance industry and the ability to obtain insurance.  In particular the Christchurch earthquakes have made it more difficult and costly to obtain insurance cover for some of the properties and goods we need to secure.  We asked Geoff Blampied, CEO, Aon New Zealand to provide some comments and advice on the subject. Geoff writes: Global Perspectives Firstly, we need to look at the Christchurch earthquake losses from a global perspective in order to understand the issues.  Christchurch has now suffered three major quake losses and numerous aftershocks with total estimated insured claims of $26 billion.  These…
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