Commander franchises optimistic as receivers search for buyers

Commander franchises optimistic as receivers search for buyers

Commander Centre franchise owners remain upbeat and say it’s business as usual while receivers look for possible buyers of their ASX-listed parent company.

Last week, McGrathNicol said it will attempt to sell Commander (ASX:CDR) off in two parts: Its managed and professional services business, and its telecommunications business supported by a national franchise network.

McGrathNicol was appointed as receiver to Commander on August 7 after the company went into voluntary administration. The receivers have continued trading while readying the business for a sale.

A spokesperson for McGrathNicol said interest in advance of advertising had been robust, with 60 expressions of interest received so far.

“The work necessary to restructure these businesses to enable them to generate strong cashfl ows was largely completed by management and we expect to consummate sales of the respective businesses over the next 10-12 weeks,” Peter Anderson of McGrathNicol said in a statement.

Questions had been raised about how Commander’s demise would affect its Commander Centre franchise network. Over the past three years, 33 franchises have been rolled out across Australia providing network carriage, systems installation and managed telephony services to the SoHo and SMB markets.

The McGrathNicol spokesperson confirmed that while franchise owners still retained their individual businesses, their operation agreements are tied to Commander and will therefore be sold off as part of the sales process.

Owner and director of the Commander Centre in Cheltenham, Victoria, Travis Moore, who attended the first creditors’ meeting on August 19, said most franchise owners were taking a positive view of the situation. Individual franchisees initially purchased a territory from Commander and were then expected to pay ongoing fees.

“It’s really a question of expediency and how fast the sales process can go through,” he said. Moore was confident the long history and strength of the Commander brand would make it an attractive asset for any new owner.

A NSW-based franchise owner, who asked not to be named, was also taking a wait-and-see approach.

“We’ve got to keep going, so it’s business as usual for us – the more business we do the better it all looks to the buyer,” the franchise owner said. He suggested the franchise network would be of most interest to rival telco providers.

Several of Commander’s IT services competitors including Data#3, UXC and Datacom have already submitted expressions of interest to buy parts of the business. Others, such as Sydney-based integrator, Ethan Group, have aggressively targeted Commander customers with national advertising campaigns.

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