No cash likely for customers after bub shop’s collapse
UNSECURED creditors including suppliers and lay-by customers appear unlikely to see a cent after the collapse of a long-time nursery empire with two outlets on the Coast.
Liquidator Chris Cook, of Worrells, said they'd managed to recoup enough money to provide a "full dividend to all employees, including entitlements", after winding up Kawana Bubs Pty Ltd, as trustee for Kawana Bubs Unit Trust.
It traded as Bubs Boutique Maroochydore and Bubs Boutique Noosa, and was better known as Bubs Baby Shops on social media and in-store signage.
Kawana Bubs Pty Ltd was part of a broader group of companies, operated by Noosaville-based Guy Hinze, brother of supermodel Kristy Hinze and grandson of former Queensland MP Russ Hinze.
Bubs Baby Shops had operated for 17 years before its collapse in August, 2017.
Mr Cook had been appointed to wind up a number of stores, including the two Coast outlets as well as stores in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane and Aspley.
He said with regards to the two Coast stores, the Australian Taxation Office had been owed about $59,000, while debts to suppliers and customers had been about $240,000.
He said employees had been owed about $69,000 in entitlements, mostly superannuation, redundancy packages and repayments to the Fair Entitlements Guarantee scheme which had stepped in to assist with employee entitlements.
That figure had been able to be paid in full through Mr Cook's recoveries, but he said remaining debts to unsecured creditors looked unlikely to be paid, with any surplus money going to Westpac, as a secured creditor.
Mr Cook said the group of companies had debts of about $1.4 million owed to Westpac when it entered voluntary liquidation in 2017, and the recovered money wouldn't be enough to cover that debt as it was, making the prospect of a return for unsecured creditors unlikely.
Mr Cook said investigations were ongoing into any possible voidable transactions, which if recovered, would go to all creditors.
He said it was "hard to put a time frame" on how much longer the investigations would take.
Mr Cook explained a High Court decision had delayed the process for some time, as five of the affected entities were subject to trusts, and the High Court decision was set to have ramifications on how trusts were dealt with.
"We were in a holding pattern for many, many months (waiting for the decision)," Mr Cook said.
He said the sale of stock after the company's collapse had helped recoup money to pay out staff, and the level of community support for the businesses following their demise had been surprising.
The Courier-Mail initially reported the company had folded with debts of more than $1 million in leave and entitlements across the group, as well as $3.8 million owed to suppliers.