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VTL Group Directors Resign, Appoint McCloy Receiver

Posted On: 11/5/2008

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AUCKLAND, New Zealand -- The directors of global vending machine technology manufacturer and franchisor VTL Group have resigned and appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers' Colin McCloy as receiver, according to the New Zealand Herald.

In their resignation statement, the directors said they "continue to believe that Remote Technology Systems LLC, Shop24 and the vending franchise program have value and hope that the restructuring program will continue for the benefit of the stakeholders."

McCloy and PricewaterhouseCoopers partner John Waller are already the receivers for VTL subsidiary Nathans Finance, which funded the vending company and collapsed in August 2007. Nathans went into receivership when VTL revealed that it was insolvent, reportedly leaving 6,000 investors owed a total of $166 million. The New Zealand stock exchange immediately suspended VTL shares from trading.

Nathans receivers provided funding to VTL, enabling it to resume public trading pending the sale and restructure of its business units. VTL was again suspended from trading from November 2007 through February 2008 for failure to meet the deadline to provide its annual financial results.

The company sold its 24seven Australasia and U.S. vending franchises last spring. The receivers said they realized $8 million from the sale of the assets, far short of the debt owed to investors, the New Zealand Herald reported.

In May, VTL Group posted an operating loss of $20.18 million for the half-year ended February 2008. The result compared with a loss of $5.9 million for the six months to December 31.

During the half-year period, the vending technology company said operating expenses increased to $23.7 million, from $18.9 million. Total revenue was $5.58 million compared with $19.5 million in the corresponding period.

According to the New Zealand paper, the receivers issued a statement that they are investigating VTL's reported $133 million loss for the 14-month period ended August 31, 2007, and that "a number of matters have come to our attention which are being investigated and which will be referred to the appropriate government authorities if necessary."