Liquidator keeps product after firm sale to Aussies

Wellington company Workflow Solutions, after being put into voluntary liquidation earlier this month, has been acquired as a going concern by Sydney-based software developer and reseller Planwell Technology.

Wellington company Workflow Solutions, after being put into voluntary liquidation earlier this month, has been acquired as a going concern by Sydney-based software developer and reseller Planwell Technology.

However, the liquidator has retained one of Workflow Solutions’ biggest knowledge assets, WFS-Link, a software bridge between Remedy’s helpdesk system and Microsoft Project that enables responses to user problems to be more effectively project-managed. It may be sold to another buyer, says former Workflow Solutions chief Bryan Hall.

All 22 staff, with perhaps one exception, have transferred to the new company. Hall says he will stay with the company for about three months in a business development role. “Then I’ll consider my options.”

Planwell has been a partner of Remedy for some years, and of that company’s new Californian owner, Peregrine Systems. Workflow Solutions also had links with both companies.

Workflow Solutions has more than 40 customers in New Zealand. Its liquidation was chiefly caused by a substantial bad debt from an overseas distributor, and had nothing to do with the fortunes of Remedy or Peregrine, says Hall.

Peregrine took over Remedy mid-2001, and recently produced an optimistic statement about appointment of international distribution channel partners. However, its Nasdaq share value has been languishing since an abrupt drop at the beginning of this year, caused by unexpectedly low levels of business in Europe.

Chris Dunphy of local insolvency practice Howard Shephard says she and fellow liquidator Iain Shephard felt there was some urgency to do the Planwell deal to maintain the integrity of the company and keep the client base. The WFS-Link product requires marketing and to include it would have prolonged the negotiations, she says. The product is being put on the market internationally, Dunphy says.

The sale of the WS assets to Planwell is, in a legally technical sense “conditional”, Dunphy says. She declines to specify what conditions are still to be satisfied, but says they are small matters and “not financial”.

Planwell managing director Matthew Barnier says his company is exploring the purchase of WFS-Link]. “We are hoping to come to a positive resolution soon, but the first thing is to take care of the core business, the staff and the customers.”

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