Administrators for Tasman Butchers have revealed the independent butchery business owes an estimated $10 million to creditors.
The revelation, provided to stakeholders at a creditors meeting earlier this week, comes as administrator PricewaterhouseCoopers progresses an urgent process to sell the business, which trades as Tasman Butchers, as a going concern.
A preferred bidder has come forward for 10 of the company’s 15 operating stores, while other potential buyers have expressed interest in one, two or three outlets, SmartCompany understands.
SmartCompany also understands a contract with the preferred bidder could be drawn up as early as next week, which would also include Tasman Butchers intellectual property.
If the deal were to eventuate the business would be effectively carved up, with stores not subject to the deal being required to rebrand.
Tasman Fresh Meats, which trades as Tasman Butchers, appointed voluntary administrators earlier this month.
PwC administrator David McEvoy says he hopes to secure deals for all of the company’s stores in the next four to eight weeks.
“We’re working to an accelerated time frame,” he tells SmartCompany.
Two of the company’s signature big-box format stores in Rosebud and Bendigo have already closed, but McEvoy believes much of the network is still healthy.
“There were elements of the network that were just not working,” he says of the circumstances leading to his appointment.
“Some of the stores were under performing and the business needed to restructure in order to move forward on a sustainable footing.
“It didn’t have the capital base,” he continues.
Tasman Butchers is Victoria’s largest independent butcher and employs around 150 people.
The business is majority owned by Singapore-based private equity firm Equity Partners, which purchased its stake in August 2013 from businessman Joe Catalfamo.
Creditors for the business include abattoirs Westside Meats and Gathercole’s.
SmartCompany contacted Tasman Butchers for comment but did not receive a response prior to publication.