New company rises from Maclean Computing liquidation
Chris Maclean teams up with businessman Matthew Bellingham for Maclean Technology Ltd, with customer-base and staff likely to remain intactBy Simon Eskow and Sarah Putt, Auckland | Wednesday, 18 July 2012
The customer-base and staff of Maclean Computing (MCL), which went into liquidation last Friday, is expected to remain intact with the formation of a new company.
Chris Maclean joined forces with businessman Matthew Bellingham to purchase the assets from MCL's liquidator. The new company, Maclean Technology Ltd, will most likely hire on MCL's employees, and will remain in the company's current location.
“Myself and a business partner have established a new company and that company will buy the new assets, other than the debtors – we did that through a competitive process run by the liquidator,” he says.
The liquidator, Damien Grant of Waterstone Insolvency, confirms a competitive process took place in five days, but wouldn’t say how many bids were in the running, or what was paid for the assets. When asked if the sale was in keeping with the ‘Phoenix Law’, or sections 386A-F of the Companies Act (which govern whether the assets of a company in liquation can be bought by affiliated parties), Grant told Computerworld: “I hope it would be, otherwise I’m going to prison.”
According to Maclean, the liquidation was the consequence of a theft by a former financial controller, a debt the company discovered in early 2010, but could not recoup, especially in light of the financial crisis.
"It is sad to see Maclean Computing disappear but we’re also very positive about being able to get out there and play our part in the industry without the concrete boots of debt slowing us down,” Maclean told Reseller News this afternoon. "Although it seems to have brought out the true colours in some of our competitors, we’ve been delighted in general with the response of the industry, staff and customers."
Grant says the total amount owing to between 30 and 40 Maclean Computing creditors “will be around the $1 million mark”.
Maclean says the liquidation of MCL will undoubtedly mean losses for some creditors.
"We are extremely sorry for this as they were all valued suppliers and the last thing we wanted to do was for them to miss out," he says in a statement. "We tried absolutely everything to sort this out including hundreds of thousands of dollars from the wider family. All that is now lost, and there is nothing good about that.
Maclean says competitors have been very active since the announcement of the liquidation earlier this week, including Code Blue.
Maclean Computing was founded by Allen Maclean in 1993 and his son Chris Maclean took charge in 2009. According to Chris Maclean the company struggled in the “post-recession environment” and the situation was made worse by an alleged theft of over $500,000 from the former financial controller. That case is currently before the courts.
“Allen is a bit of a legend in the industry and (I had) some big shoes to fill,” Chris Maclean says. “He and I work great together. What I can say is I’ve picked the business up in pretty poor shape having gone through those dramas and I’ve increased profits by hundred of thousands of dollars since that year on year.”
Maclean Computing’s 50 staff were told about the liquidation on Monday night, and yesterday evening, when the asset sale had been approved, Chris and Allen Maclean took them out for drink to toast the new company.
So could Maclean Computing have been saved?
“Anyone who knows us would know that we did absolutely everything possible for the first company to survive,” says Chris Maclean.
“And that included Allen selling his house and his brothers and daughters putting in their life savings to get it through, but eventually we just couldn’t make it work and it wasn’t a choice we had. So from then on, rather than try to make the old company survive once it went into liquidation, at that point it was a case of ‘how do we preserve these staff jobs and a lot of customers rely on us for essential services. So to not make an effort with that regard would be pretty irresponsible.”
Chris Maclean says his business partner in Maclean Technology, Matthew Bellingham, is a director of Auckland accounting firm Hayes Knight.
“He has been my personal financial advisor for a while, helped me put together the bids for the business and during that process he agreed to come on as a partner because we couldn’t quite get there in terms of the money, so he’s put up his own equity to do that. Together we managed to get a competitive bid together.”
According to the Companies Office, Maclean Technology Ltd was registered in November 2011.
This deal smells shonky.Did the receiver advertise the assets for sale.A few more questions need to be asked.
Posted by Anonymous at 09:56 on July 20, 2012
So - if I read this right - Maclean Computing was impregnated 9 months ago and has just given birth to Maclean Technology and has been adoption by two new parents - Chris and Matthew. Congratulations to the happy couple! Despite having known Allen for many years and helping them out with the financial situation earlier before they moved procurement to Acquire...I will not open an account for Maclean Technology. Sorry Chris - as much as I sympathize for you and your staff - screwing your creditors is simply not cricket. And your liquidator needs to seek legal advice - fast.
Posted by A Distributors View at 03:10 on July 19, 2012
Making a business decision based on the ill-informed tripe you read online...good for you! I am sure that fills your resellers with lots of confidence! Have you actually talked to the Maclean guys directly?
Posted by Anonymous at 07:34 on July 23, 2012
Wouldn't the creditors have been screwed anyway? Just wondering what would be cricket under the circumstances? I expect you have a solution as you must be a Maths person as your English leaves a lot to be desired!
Posted by Anonymous at 15:46 on July 19, 2012
Yep -here's the solution. The liquidator should have sold the assets to an independent 3rd party - i.e. another reseller with proven capabilities - and as part of the deal protected the staff as best as possible. So - 2 minus 1 equals 1. You should be able to follow the math.
Posted by Anonymous at 04:44 on July 19, 2012
have a read of this I say
Posted by Anonymous at 01:59 on July 19, 2012
I think it is positive that Chris (and the Maclean Family) are resetting the business and trying again, who on this earth has not made a mistake, if only New Zealanders as a whole were more positive and supportive! Good luck Chris (& the Team) I hope that you put the past where it belongs (in the past) and build a new company that has a positive effect on the NZ economy.
Posted by Brendon Ford at 01:53 on July 19, 2012
I agree. Isn't a bit odd that no one has mentioned two key facts - 1. I've seen the numbers and under Chris' stewardship the companies profits improved half a million a year, for the two years he held the CEO role. How many other small businesses managed that the last two years? and 2. it was clear in Chris' staff letter that this was caused by a massive overdraft reduction by the bank in the same week, leaving Allan with no choice.
So Chris had a back-up plan to save everyones jobs. And somehow that makes him Dr. Evil?! I think not.
Posted by Loyal employee at 07:49 on July 23, 2012
Hold on... Chris has improved the profit by half a million a year for two years, so that $1 million of extra profit.
Now, the cited reason for the liquidation: the theft of one half a million dollars.
So, where is Chris's other half million of profit?
Something doesn't add up. Or is Chris counting the "improved half million a year" as a reduction in net losses? Or perhaps he's saying, "In my first year, someone stole half a million. Its only got better since then under my watch."
I can tell you one thing: Chris is not motivated by saving staff. You only need to look at the constant and massive turn over of staff under his watch to see that.
I would have felt sorry for the guy if he wasn't being so cocky about this move.
Posted by Anonymous at 08:45 on July 23, 2012
Here, here! Apparently most people on here have the luxury of never having made mistakes or indeed have never been the victim of a situation not of their making either! I've never seen such vitriol for a bloke just trying to do the right thing for his staff and his family.
Posted by Anonymous at 15:37 on July 19, 2012
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