WHILE receivers trawl through the assets of the debt-laden Riviera Group, the receiver Chris Campbell has today assured the remaining 550 employees that its business as usual – for now.
Campbell, from Deloitte, says he is looking to continue to trade the business while the receivers and managers investigate the financial affairs to develop a restructuring plan over the next few weeks.
Riviera will display solidarity and continue to exhibit its range at the 21st Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show starting next Thursday (May 21). It remains to be seen how many will lose their jobs before then.
While the challenge will be to reassure employees and customers of the intention to continue to trade, expressions of interest for the company have been received. Given the current economic climate, it is likely that the best return for creditors will come from a restructure and turn-around of the operations of the business rather than an immediate sale.
Riviera founder and now Maritimo boss Bill Barry-Cotter, has ruled himself out of the race to save the embattled company. It is believed the private equity company that acquired Riviera for $1.65 million in 2002 could not deliver the appropriate management expertise. Barry Cotter has said that he ‘dreamt about the company becoming an icon’.
Rumours have swept the industry that Barry-Cotter would either re-acquire the company and ‘gut Riviera’ to move Maritimo onto the waterfront site opposite, but Maritimomarketing director Luke Durman, has dismissed the rumours as ‘rubbish’.
“I can tell you categorically that no bid in any shape or form has been made nor has Maritimo been contacted and asked to table a bid,” says Durman.
“From an industry viewpoint, we’re saddened that such a company has struck trouble and feel particularly concerned for those who have lost their jobs as a result of the receivership. It’s par for the course that rumours tend to run a bit wild when something of this magnitude happens, but I can assure all that Maritimo is only an onlooker, a neighbouring business within the Gold Coast Marine Precinct.”
The receiver Chris Campbell confirmed that the Riviera business has been significantly impacted by a high level of debt.
“The company has seen a downturn in demand for its boats over the last six to 12 months which appears to be in line with the global luxury boat industry. However, there remains a solid pipeline of demand for these best-in-class Riviera products,” says Campbell.
Campbell says all warranties will continue during the receivership trading period.
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