As Brocker Technology sheds the last vestiges of its IT distribution business, negotiations with creditors of its defunct Sealcorp subsidiary are dragging on.
One of those creditors, software company Novell, is getting impatient about the six-figure sum it says it is owed following the cessation of its distribution agreement with Sealcorp in February.
Novell New Zealand head Peter Revell says talks have been taking place with Brocker, but progress is slow. He says court action to speed things up isn’t out of the question.
“We haven’t made a decision about court action,” Revell says. “In the overall scheme of things, it’s not a huge amount of our business,” he says of the amount owed.
Brocker finance head Grant Hope won’t say how much Sealcorp’s debts total. But he says several million dollars paid by Sealcorp New Zealand to prop up Sealcorp Australia last year would have covered the debt.
Hope says an “informal scheme” has been offered to Sealcorp’s creditors, which number fewer than 10 multinational suppliers, involving the return of unsold products and cash from the sale of Sealcorp’s assets. But the amount on offer is less than what the creditors are owed.
Compaq is another creditor but finance director Bruce McEwen won’t say to the tune of how much.
“We’re working with Brocker on how to resolve it,” McEwen says.
McEwen says getting together with other creditors to speed things up is a possibility, but there have been no such formal moves.
Good timing on the part of PC maker Acer, which ended its distribution agreement with Sealcorp in January, means it is not owed anything, says general manager Howard Kang.
Brocker is left with a distribution agreement for just one IT product, says communications manager Nigel Murphy. That is CAD software from AutoDesk.
Late last month it ended a cellphone distribution agreement with Telecom, resulting in 23 redundancies.
Murphy says the company has been getting out of the distribution business because it ceased to be profitable. It was necessary to shut down Sealcorp, which happened at the end of March, to ensure the continued survival of Brocker, he says. If that leaves Sealcorp creditors in the lurch, then that’s “commercial reality”, Murphy says.
Brocker’s restructured business has three parts: professional IT services, reselling telecomms services, and IT sales and suppport business Datec, which is based in Fiji. Datec employs about 300 people while Brocker New Zealand has 75, down from 200 a year ago. The company will do about $100 million of business this year, Murphy says.
Meanwhile, its stock value on the Nasdaq was languishing at about $US0.50 last week after being lifted above $US1 at the end of April by a one for four share consolidation.