Finance

Receivers close 55 ABC Learning centres, fight to save 241 more

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The receivers of collapsed childcare group ABC Learning Centres have announced that 55 unprofitable centres will be closed on 31 December, but the fate of the group’s remaining 960 centres hangs in the balance as receivers seek more funds from ABC’s banke

The receivers of collapsed childcare group ABC Learning Centres have announced that 55 unprofitable centres will be closed on 31 December, but the fate of the group’s remaining 960 centres hangs in the balance as receivers seek more funds from ABC’s bankers to keep the operations running.

The Federal Government has been forced to step in again and provide $34 million to keep 241 unviable centres – which care for more than 20,000 children –open until the end of March.

This cash injection comes just weeks after the Rudd Government put $22 million into the ailing ABC shell.

Under the deal, the receivers will package the 241 unviable centres into a subsidiary company, which will effectively be managed by the Federal Government. The Government will then appoint its own receiver to try and sell these unviable centres.

But the receivers are also reported to be seeking $35 million from ABC’s banking syndicate to keep the company’s 720 profitable centres open until the receivers can sell them off.

The banking syndicate – which is owed more than $1 billion – has already pumped around $30 million into ABC since it collapsed last month.

But one big question remains – who will buy ABC’s profitable centres? While several buyers have put their hands up to buy a small number of centres, it is unclear whether one company is willing to take on all 720 centres.

The majority of the 55 centres set to be closed are located in the outer suburbs of Australia’s cities. The receivers have promised that the 4000 children affected by the closures will be transferred to another ABC centres within an average of 2.5 kilometres.

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