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Pacific Equity Partners-backed REDgroup enters administration

REDgroup reportedly recorded a a full-year loss of A$43 million in the last financial year.

Pacific Equity Partners has appointed Ferrier Hodgson partners as voluntary administrators for its ailing portfolio company REDgroup, which owns and operates Angus & Robertson, Borders and Whitcoulls bookstore chains in Australia and New Zealand.

Pacific Equity Partners could not immediately be reached.

Steve Sherman, a partner at Ferrier Hodgson, said as far as possible it would be business as usual while the administrators conduct an urgent assessment of the business’s financial status and prepare for the first meeting of creditors.

The meeting is likely to take place in the first week of March.

In July last year, REDgroup said in a statement filed on the New Zealand Exchange that it was likely to breach two out of three banking covenants due at the end of August because of a “difficult retail environment in the region”.

According to Australian media The Age, REDgroup in October last year unveiled a full-year loss of A$43 million, which it said was mainly due to non-cash inventory provisions as it completed the integration of Borders and rationalisation of old ranges.

PEP acquired REDgroup before its 2008 re-branding from UK retailer WH Smith in May 2004. The company was then known as A&R Whitcoulls. Currently the company operates various subsidiaries in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore including specialty calendar store Calendar Club, news agency chain Supanews and New Zealand textbook brand Whitcoulls.