PC Company goes into receivership

New Zealand’s largest whitebox personal computer manufacturer, The PC Company, will appoint a receiver after closing its doors last week.

In a written statement, The PC Company founder, Colin Brown, expressed his disappointment at not being able to save the company.

“This a very stressful time not only for myself and my family, but everyone involved with our company. To see a New Zealand icon company fail is very distressing.”

Brown said negotiations had broken down over the future of the company.

“We now have to protect creditors, staff and all affected parties,” he said. “The receivers might well be able to arrange a sale of the company or its assets. Naturally, we would love to see the company continue, and look after its considerable customer base, and creditors.”

The PC Company called a temporary halt to trading on September 8. The prior Friday, Brown had ordered staff to conduct a full stock-take and then to lock the stores. On the Monday he closed the seven stores and sent the staff home. Brown has not commented personally on the matter but in a series of press releases has discussed the difficulties of the past year.

“It is no secret we have had a tough 12 months, where sales have continued to decline ... We have also been in negotiations with a major New Zealand retail chain to supply them with large volumes of PCs, but these negotiations have stalled”. Brown said that these negotiations had failed completely.

“It is with a heavy heart that after 22 years of hard work I have asked our board to consider receivers to be appointed to take control of The PC Company Ltd’s affairs,” he said.

Brown has taken out a personal loan to avoid having his creditors appoint a receiver on his behalf. By taking out a personal loan, Brown said he would be able to pay back a portion of his company’s debt. This would enable Brown to choose his own receiver, giving him more control over the receivership process.

Brown was the founding chairman of the Computer Manufacturer’s Association (CMANZ), an organisation built to ensure end users weren’t out of pocket should a local manufacturer go out of business. CMANZ won’t necessarily be called on to pay for in-warranty repairs to PC Company PCs as the fund only covers companies going into liquidation, not receivership.

IT market researcher IDC said The PC Company’s popularity peaked during 2000 to 2001, when it accounted for as much as 10 per cent of the consumer PC market, according to analyst Alysha Buckley.

“It got up to number two behind HP,” Buckley said.

The PC Company also runs a virtual ISP, PC Connect, however there is no word yet on the future of that arrangement either. ISP services are provided by Hamilton-based ISP, Wave Internet.

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