By James Wells

SYDNEY: PricewaterhouseCoopers has issued a statement outlining the progress it has made since being appointed as receiver of Betta Stores Limited (BSL) and several of its subidiaries last Thursday afternoon by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA).

According to the statement, the directors of BSL and its subsidiary companies requested a trading halt on the Newcastle Stock Exchange (NSX) on Thursday afternoon and informed the CBA of its intention to appoint a voluntary administrator to the business.

As a result of this request from the board prior to the company becoming insolvent, the CBA appointed Pricewaterhouse Coopers partners Phil Carter and David McEvoy as receivers and managers of BSL, BSL Finance, Betta Stores (Southern), Betta Stores (Northern) and four companies within the South Australian Truscott Group last Thursday.

“The assets under the control of the receivers and managers include BSL’s very valuable brand names, including Betta Electrical, Chandlers, and Truscotts and infrastructure necessary for the operation and continuation of the franchisee group. The Receivers and Managers and the Bank hope to see BSL’s business continue as a going concern,” the statement said.

“In our view there is now an opportunity for a co-ordinated group of franchisees with the appropriate management to rebuild the business to be best placed to extract the most value from this iconic brand,” Carter said.

“We are certainly interested in hearing from any party that is interested in taking this great brand forward.”

Carter said that in the event that there is no interest in the business as a whole, then a break-up of the group and realisation of the brands would be the only alternative.

Carter confirmed that a number of potential purchasers have already been in contact in relation to purchasing the brand names.

“The weekend’s win at Bathurst has obviously provided tremendous exposure and enhanced the brand’s value at an important time for BSL.  It’s been a real boost to the morale of all concerned with the group, and I’m particularly pleased for our employees, who have shown great belief in the company.”

Carter said the Receivers would also need to complete the group’s previously-announced selldown of the remaining group-owned stores, including the chain of Truscotts stores in South Australia.

“Truscotts enjoys a prominent share in its market and I am confident that it will be sold as a going concern in the near future.”

A meeting of creditors will be held at the Westin Hotel in Sydney on Thursday.