Kardashian-backed NZ liquor firm falls into receivership

Kardashians star Scott Disick enjoys a VnC Cocktail

A New Zealand shake-and-pour cocktail company made famous through an appearance on reality show Keeping up with the Kardashians has been placed into receivership.

VnC Cocktails went into voluntary administration on June 30 and was yesterday put into receivership by secured charge holder BNZ after shareholders refused to postpone a debt-due date.

Grant Graham and Neale Jackson of KordaMentha have been appointed joint receivers.

The drinks company was founded in August 2007 by 42 Below co-founder Shane McKillan who believed there was a need for a ready-made cocktail.

VnC was the drink of choice of Kourtney Kardashian’s husband Scott Disick in an episode screened September 2011.

Mr Disick became an investor and celebrity ambassador for the brand, which was sold in 30 countries.

VnC Cocktails subsidiary VnC Manufacturing is also receivership.

Other subsidiaries Hydr8 and Sejuice Wine are not in receivership but remain in voluntary administration.

Administrator Simon Dalton, of Gerry Rea Partners, tells NBR ONLINE the company had run out of time to pay a preferential secured debt owing.

The group had been trying to sell the business as a going concern for some time but needed to call in administrators to speed up the sale process.

There are “three or four” international companies currently in acquisition talks with VnC Cocktails, Mr Dalton says. He would not name them for confidentiality reasons.

The company had been trying to stave off administrators and receivership by negotiating to extend the time allowed to repay a secured debt to some of the shareholders.

However, a small number of those shareholders refused to extend the time allowed.

“Fundamentally there was one particular debt that could not be rolled over, and the directors were determined to appoint administrators to the group basically to try and achieve a sale,” Mr Dalton says.

There are 12 shareholders. The majority owner is Collinsville Ltd – of which Mr McKillan is also a director – with 36.5% shares, Collins Asset Management with 26.9%, and Mr McKillan who owns 14.8%.

Collins Asset Management is directed by Timothy Cook, who resigned as a director of VnC Cocktails on June 27.

Mark Darrow and Warren Couillault, a prominent fund manager, also ceased being directors of VnC Cocktails in June and May respectively.

Mr Dalton could not give details on how much is owed, apart from saying the majority of debts are secured loans, before administrators investigate and write their first report.

He would not elaborate on a possible sale price – “as much as we can possibly get.”

A few years ago the company was negotiating with a number of buyers, including Panache Beverages in the US but sale did not come to fruition. The company was then restructured, and decided recently it needed to sell.

Under administration, the business can continue trading while the sale process moves on.

The first report from receivers KordaMentha is due September 1.

Mr Dalton says it is unfortunate the company was put into receivership but says Garry Rea Partners will work closely with KordaMentha to determine a solution for the whole group.

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