4RF Communications in receivership over call from noteholders

BUSINESSDESK: 4RF Communications, which sells microwave radio products worldwide from its base in Wellington, has been placed in receivership after it failed to reach agreement on restructuring some $5.5 million of convertible notes.

John Fisk of PwC has been appointed receiver, according to a notice filed with the Companies Office this week.

He told BusinessDesk the operating business of 4RF has been placed in a separate vehicle and is continuing in business while the merits of a full sale of the business or capital raising are considered.

4RF had revenue of $20.4 million in the year ended March 31, 2010, the latest accounts filed with the Companies Office.

It made a net loss of $820,000 that year, according to the accounts, which were signed off by chairman Peter Troughton.

Its products include its Aprisa SCADA point-to-multipoint radio for use by oil, gas and utility companies, and a point-to-point microwave link product, its website says.

The company was founded in 1998 and counts Sydney-based financial services firm Carnegie, Wylie, which is owned by Lazard, as a 36% shareholder, company records show.

Orion New Zealand, owned by Christchurch City and Selwyn District councils, holds about 23%. Former politician Paul East is listed as having 21,489 of the 57,589,103 shares on issue.

Detail of holders of the convertible notes weren’t immediately available.

However, the notes to the 2010 accounts show key shareholders agreed to subscribe to the notes under a deed effective March 2008.

The notes matured on January 15 this year, giving holders the option to redeem or convert them to ordinary shares.

“The company could not reach agreement on restructuring with some of the noteholders so the board decided it was in its best interests to place it into receivership,” Fisk said.

Some of the noteholders “were not prepared to convert to equity”.

“We’ve put the business operations into a new vehicle which will continue as normal while we go through a full sale or capital raising process,” he said.

“The business is now trading very well” and receivership was seen as the best was to preserve its value, Fisk said.

The company has been contacting creditors, suppliers and customers about the receivership.

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