Despite its Australian parent's collapse into receivership, Zivo New Zealand will continue trading "on a day to day basis", says general manager Gavin Thwaites.
"LibertyOne is in receivership. Currently Zivo Australia is also in receivership; however, Zivo New Zealand is operating as a normal operating company," says Thwaites.
LibertyOne arrived in New Zealand with an active press campaign in August 1999, buying web developer Clearview for shares and cash worth $10 million and renaming it Zivo New Zealand. Zivo NZ has doubled in size since then, to around 100 staff, and Thwaites says they are his primary concern.
"I'm very concerned about two issues: the retention of our people and the retention of our clients." Thwaites says his client base have shown "extreme loyalty" to the New Zealand company and are "pro-actively trying to encourage us to keep going".
Thwaites believes the New Zealand company's strength is one reason why Ernst & Young, the company handling the receivership, have left Zivo New Zealand alone. "We are a separate legal entity," says Thwaites. The Companies Office lists Zivo New Zealand's shareholders as LibertyOne Ltd in Australia. Thwaites says he is "obviously concerned" at the problems because of the high level of visibility of the closure.
LibertyOne was forced to stop trading after its Hong Kong-based backer, iReality Group, pulled out of its rescue bid, worth $A6 million. A management buyout of the local operation was rebuffed in October in favour of the iReality offer. Thwaites has not ruled out a second attempt at a management buyout. "Obviously the market has moved on since then and we have to re-investigate the whole proposition."