Vending technology company VTL calls in receiver

Salvage efforts unsuccessful

Vending machine and technology company VTL has called in a receiver and its directors have resigned.

The company, funded by a failed subsidiary investment firm Nathans Finance, told the market yesterday Colin McCloy would become receiver of VTL.

"The directors continue to believe that Remote Technology Systems LLC, Shop24 and the vending franchise programme have value and hope that the restructuring programme will continue for the benefit of the stakeholders," the directors said in a brief statement to the market.

VTL was suspended from trading after a related finance company, Nathans Finance, went into receivership in August 2007. In October, John Hotchin, a founder and a director of the NZX-listed company resigned.

According to a July update from Nathans' receiver, the company had provided $171m of debt to VTL, parties associated with it and various VTL franchisees. VTL owns a number of vending machine related business units which operate in New Zealand and Australia (24seven Australasia), North America (24seven US and Shop24 US), and Europe (Shop24 Europe).

Nathans receivers continued to provide funding to VTL to enable it to trade pending the sale and restructure of its business units.

The 24seven Australasia and 24seven US business units were sold as part of the process, but after the sales Nathans still only hd $8 million in funds, well short of the $171 million lent to VTL and with other debts still to be negotiated.

The receivers also noted investigations into VTL's reported $133 million loss for the 14-month period ended 31 Augus,t 2007, was being investigated.

"The magnitude of the loss is of serious concern and is the subject of a thorough investigation by the receivers of Nathans. Already 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."

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