Several buyers eyeing E-force customers: liquidator

Several parties are interested in buying the membership database of failed B2C etailer E-force, says the liquidator handling the case.

Several parties are interested in buying the membership database of failed B2C etailer E-force, says the liquidator handling the case.

Christchurch-based liquidator Malcolm Hollis of BDO Spicers says he is talking to parties interested in buying the database and hardware it sits on but wouldn’t reveal how many or to whom. Hollis says he has been told the database contains 30,000 to 35,000 names but has not confirmed that figure.

BDO Spicers is the liquidator for E-warehouse, the fully owned subsidiary that E-force set up to run its buying portal. E-force launched the portal, which aimed to aggregate consumer buying power to gain discounts on featured products and services, in February last year. According to company executives it would need a database of 50,000 members to be successful.

E-force was placed in receivership in March after it was unable to come up with a restructuring plan that satisfied its banker, HSBC. The software that ran the portal, the database and the hardware it sits on was put up for sale. “Interested parties are still trying to understand the quality of the database and determine what information is available,” says Hollis.

Meanwhile, another E-force subsidiary, software development house PSI, has been sold to former E-force director Warren Bird.

Product Sourcing International (PSI), an 11-year-old company that imports garments and general merchandise and which also developed a proprietary supply chain software system, continued trading and was sold at the end of April to Bird and Jenny Vernon.

PSI, based in Auckland, was bought by E-force Group last year and PSI founder Bill Farmer became chief executive of E-force Group, replacing founder Mark Fulton. Farmer downsized the B2C operations to focus on PSI’s B2B activities, and had hoped to use PSI to help restructure E-force. PSI continued to trade after E-force went into receivership and Farmer resigned.

Bird would not say how much the company cost and did not want to comment on the future direction of the company.

E-force receiver Richard Agnew, of PricewaterhouseCoopers, says secured creditors have been paid some funds from the realisation of assets, the biggest being HSBC with a $9 million debenture. IRD was also owed $63,000. PricewaterhouseCoopers is still collecting on E-force’s debtors and it’s unlikely that unsecured creditors will see any funds, he says.

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