Printing company once valued at $320 million goes under, leaving 1,000 jobs at risk

Commercial printing company Geon Group has gone into receivership leaving the jobs of its 1,000 employees at risk.

Geon operates in Australia and New Zealand. The printing, mail and logistics provider prints catalogues and marketing material and does mail-out campaigns in both countries.

PPB Advisory was appointed as voluntary administrator for the business yesterday followed by the appointment of Shaun Fraser, Jason Preston, Murray Smith and James Thackray of McGrath Nicol as receivers by secured creditors Kholberg Kravis Roberts and Allegro Funds.

KKR is a private equity firm which along with its Australian partner, Allegro, bought Geon Group from Lloyds Banking group last year as part of a portfolio of distressed loans worth $350 million.

Fairfax reports KKR and Allegro have now offered to buy parts of Geon Group from McGrath Nicol on the same day it appointed the receivers, which it was entitled to do as the major creditor.

The pair paid less than $5 million for Geon and the right to receive an $80 million loan from it in 2015.

It’s a far cry from Geon’s estimated worth of $320 million back when it was formed in 2007 when Pacific Print Group and listed company Promentum merged.

Fraser of McGrath Nicol said in a statement the receivers were liaising with employees, unions, customers and suppliers to ensure minimal disruption to operations.

“We have begun the process of stabilising Geon’s operations with the support of key stakeholders, including Geon equity holders KKR (Kohlberg Kravis Roberts) and Allegro. This will facilitate a thorough assessment of each of Geon’s business units’ financial position,” Fraser said.

“We have also already commenced a sale process for Geon’s businesses and assets and have received an expression of interest from one party and held discussions with others.”

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Allegro Funds bought Geon Group from Lloyds Banking Group last year as part of a portfolio of distressed loans worth $350 million.

SmartCompany contacted Allegro for comment but no response was received prior to publication.

 

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