Business Insider: What next for The International? HelloFresh ambushes Countdown

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Buyers line up as creditors wait for news

News of the $250 million International apartment scheme’s financial trouble has sparked an unusual but perhaps ultimately beneficial move.

On Thursday, Sanctuary Developments No 8’s sole director Gary Groves said via a spokesperson he had put the company developing the 17-level apartments into voluntary administration because it couldn’t pay people.

Administrator Jeff Meltzer of Meltzer Mason said buyers subsequently contacted him following the announcement.

“People got in touch as a result, to see what apartments are available. It’s very high-quality and I understand that purchasers are very happy. All owners have been contacted and they can all feel comfortable,” Meltzer said.

According to Groves 78 of the 88 units had been sold but the company could not pay either secured or unsecured creditors.

The International is a conversion of the ex-Fonterra headquarters at 9 Princess St beside the Northern Club opposite the Pullman in Auckland.

Meltzer said the BNZ has been paid in full and no other banks were involved.

He would not name any unsecured or secured creditors and his first report won’t be out till around March 15. But he did say the company had around 20 creditors.

A PPSR search showed companies with securities such as Miraka LLC, Waimauri, Neospace International and Gow Langsford Gallery.

Industry experts estimated around $27m in GST on apartment sales would be paid to Inland Revenue.

A search of titles at the address showed builder Dominion Constructors’ name on units 605 and unit 1101.

Sanctuary Development No 8’s name is on units spread across a number of floors.

Ex-Donald Trump aide Chris Liddell was said to have bought the penthouse on level 17. But a title search showed unit 1701 is still in the name of Sanctuary Developments No 8. That penthouse unit title comes with 13 accessory units, each with their own title.

The penthouse was being sold with a number of carparks.

In October 2017, Groves said the 678sq m penthouse had been sold for $15.3m but he didn’t name the buyer.

Groves has previously told the Herald that high-profile sportspeople, “captains of industry” and movie makers were among those who bought apartments.

Yesterday he said: “As with many construction projects such as Commercial Bay and the Park Hyatt Hotel, unforeseen construction disruptions and Covid-19-related delays have been overcome, however, these delays have added significant costs. It has become clear that there will be a shortfall to pay off secured and unsecured creditors.”

Meltzer said existing apartment buyers had nothing to worry about.

“Covid caused the delay of some 12 months on the completion and costs escalated but there’s no issue with settlements,” he said of sales.

He emphasised the business was not in liquidation but in a far more stable state: “It’s a unique situation. The reaction of many people is oh another developer has gone under, leaving subcontractors high and dry. But voluntary administration is able to stabilise the company,” Meltzer said.

A creditors’ meeting had been held this week, he said.

HelloFresh's ambush marketing

HelloFresh is conducting a cheeky bit of ambush marketing that sends a blatant warning message to both its traditional and digital competitors.

The company has set up a sign-up stall right outside the Countdown in Auckland’s Lynn Mall, inviting potential customers to try the meal delivery service.

Countdown will know that every customer signed up to HelloFresh equates to the best part of a week’s worth of groceries to the newcomer.

HelloFresh has already been touted as the country’s third largest grocery player after the two major supermarket chains and this move only reiterates the company’s intention to change the way Kiwis shop for the dinner.

The company isn’t only embarking on cheeky ambush stunts. It’s also playing a strong digital game, with ads fronted by local celebrities being given a big push across online platforms.

YouTube’s ranking of the top 10 most popular ads in the last 12 months saw HelloFresh top the charts with a campaign starring online influencer How to Dad and New Zealand rugby star Richie Mo’unga.

The big marketing push appears to be delivering cut-through and should raise a little concern among those looking to invest in the company’s competitor My Food Bag, which filed IPO documents last week.

Over the last year, HelloFresh has made a massive local push, increasing its revenue from $74.8 million to $194 million.

These numbers led the HelloFresh chief executive Tom Rutledge to suggest that the company had overtaken its competitor.

This will only up the ante in a 2021 battle that set to involve the old guard and a growing contingent of feisty newcomers who aren’t afraid to ruffle some feathers.

Better grab some popcorn off the shelf – or maybe just order it online.

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