Sandy Maier-chaired Geon Group in receivership

Hundreds of jobs are at risk after receivers and administrators were appointed to commercial print group Geon Group.

The Companies Office noted the appointment, made by the board of directors, this afternoon.

The group is chaired by Sandy Maier, well known as trying to rescue South Canterbury Finance from collapse in 2010. 

Geon, which at its peak employed 390 people in New Zealand and hundreds more in Australia, used to be known as Pacific Print. It prints catalogues and marketing material and does mailout campaigns in both countries.

NBR understands PPB Advisory have been appointed administrators.

However, the future of the company lies with McGrath Nicol, who have been appointed receivers by US-based private equity firm KKR, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Mr Maier was not immediately available for comment.

The receivership is further bad news for the printing industry and follows the downfall of transTasman giant Blue Star, which was broken up and sold off in parts. 

Formerly Pacific Print Group, Geon's roots trace back to Napier where the company was founded in 1978. Its print work ranges from magazines and letterheads, labels and brochures to general commercial work and greeting cards - which are exported to the US.

The company relocated to Australia in 2004 before Gresham Private Equity took a 50% stake in 2007.

KKR and Australian-based private equity firm Allegro Funds have owned Geon Group for less than six months having bought it from Lloyds Banking Group as part of a portfolio of distressed loans worth $350 million. 

The group has not filed accounts in New Zealand for three years, when it  posted net loss of $183 million for the year to June 2009, after writing down $100 million of goodwill.

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