Commander receivers: Sale on the cards but it's business as usual

Commander receivers: Sale on the cards but it's business as usual

Customers and suppliers assured the company will continue to trade

Newly appointed receivers at ASX-listed Commander (ASX:CDR)are assuring customers and suppliers that it will continue to trade in the short-term.

The troubled integrator brought in voluntary administrators, Ferrier Hodgson, yesterday after months of struggling to repay bank debts. Shortly after, its lenders appointed McGrathNicol as receivers.

A McGrathNicol spokesperson insisted it was "business as usual" at Commander and said more details about its financial position would come to light in the days ahead. The company is now going through the books and working with suppliers to ensure it could continue to function and pay the bills while it readies to sell the business.

"It is the receivers' intention that all current Commander services will continue uninterrupted whilst the sale process is undertaken and that all Commander customer needs continue to be serviced," McGrathNicol partner and co-receiver, Peter Anderson, said in its press statement. "There are no plans for major structural changes to the business while the sale process is underway."

A McGrathNicol spokesperson told ARN that Commander's bankers had finally appointed receivers after the business was unable to pay back its substantial bank debts. Despite the company's restructuring efforts, revenue still wasn't covering the debt repayments, the spokesperson admitted. These debts are believed to exceed $300 million.

Commander initially went to market for prospective buyers last year but was unsuccessful. Since then it has been selling off non-core units including wholesale arm, Unitel, and its Affinity recruitment business. It has also shed half of its staff over the past six months and now has about 1300 employees.

Several of the integrator's key vendor partners told ARN they were still awaiting further information from the administrators but had been assured the business would continue trading.

"My understanding is they will carry on for the foreseeable future - we are waiting on a call to tell us how it will work," Nortel channel manager, Neville James, said.

Commander is one of Nortel's four top-tier partners in A/NZ and sourced products directly.

HP confirmed its lines of communication with Commander were still open but refused to comment further on its partnership or the news.

Distributors, Express Data and Westcon Group, also admitted to having dealings with Commander but said monies owed were insignificant.

Unsecured creditors information will be managed by the voluntary administrators and a creditors' meeting will be called within the week. Calls to Ferrier Hodgson had not been returned at time of press.

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