QED goes belly-up

Veteran software house QED has gone into receivership and will be put up for sale.

Veteran software house QED has gone into receivership and will be put up for sale.

Auckland-based QED has failed to pay a number of debentures held by AMP Capital Investments, I-Cap Equity Partners, Endeavour Capital and former QED managing director Michael Hartley.

AMP Capital appointed McDonald Vague & Partners receiver on January 16. Receiver Graeme McDonald says it’s not year clear how much money is owed.

However, in January last year AMP Henderson Private Capital and Caltech Capital Partners injected $4 million into the company to fund a foray into the US and ASP markets with the flagship Hercules — a logistics system for the transportation industry.

At that time the company employed 60 staff, 40 in New Zealand and the rest in the US and India.

A source close to QED believes that Hercules was not shrink-wrapped enough, making implementation costs too high to succeed in the US market. Additionally, the backers were New Zealand-based companies with New Zealand dollars, which didn’t go far in the US.

McDonald says it’s business as usual at the company and he has already had phone calls from potential buyers of the business.

“I am very positive that we’ll be able to save the jobs of everyone working there and we’ll keep the business as a going concern. They certainly have some extremely good software.”

The head of InterCity and Newmans Coachlines, David Strange, says QED did a good job of establishing its reservation system RES.net more than three years ago and he’s looking for continued support. “So far we’re confident that we’ll get it.”

QED developed the reservation system for Auckland-based SkyCity Restaurant and Hotel. SkyCity IT director Damian Swaffield says QED’s receiver and directors have contacted him and he is comfortable with what is happening. “At this stage we’ll keep an eye on the situation.”

QED also built the South Fresh fish portal.

Seventeen staff are left at the company following a round of redundancies last year. Managing director Michael Hartley has also left, becoming general manager of wireless data specialist Econz.

QED has been in business since 1983 and specialises in thin client solutions for the reservation, meat and transportation industries. As well as being a software developer, QED is a licence provider for software development and database vendor Progress Software.

Auckland-based transport company Tapper Transport, for whom QED originally developed Hercules, is no longer a customer. Managing director Simon Tapper, who is in a legal battle with QED over software royalties, wouldn’t comment on the receivership.

Another former customer, Wanganui-based Waiotara Meat, stopped using the QED developed sales order processing system PRIME when it was taken over by Hawkes Bay meat company Richmond. Richmond IT manager Ian Bell says it has had contact with QED in the past because it uses some Progress-based databases.

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