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Insolvent optometry group finds potential buyer

16/01/2019By Myles Hume
A group of optometry practices placed under administration last year with debts totalling more than $1.5 million could soon be under new ownership.

A company named Z Optics is currently operating three of the five practices that formerly comprised The Eyewear Collective under a 90-day ‘licence’ period. The company has the potential to acquire the business under certain conditions at any time during this period, which ends on March 15.

The Eyewear Collective continues to be operated under administrators Mr Blair Pleash and Mr David Ingram, of Hall Chadwick Charted Accountants, who were appointed on November 8.

Z Optics assumed temporary control of the practices after the administrators executed a Deed of Company Arrangement (DOCA) on December 13. A DOCA aims to maximise the chances of providing a better return for creditors than an immediate winding up of the company, in some cases by allowing the business to continue operating.

Paul Sheehan
Paul Sheehan
“We are operating the stores for the administrators, and we will consider our stance at the end of that licence.”
Paul Sheehan, Z Optics.

Mr Paul Sheehan, the director of Z Optics, confirmed to Insight his company had assumed control of practices in Burleigh Heads, Ocean Shores and North Rocks as part of the arrangement.

“We are operating the stores for the administrators, and we will consider our position at the end of that licence … It’s more like a taste it and see,” Sheehan said.

Z Optics is a subsidiary of Headwear Retail, which currently operates 12 practices in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria.

The Eyewear Collective originally operated five practices in Queensland and northern New South Wales. However, since administrators were appointed, the Wellington Point practice was closed, while control of the Shailer Park practice was taken back in mid-November by the former owner Ms Rita Thurston. 

Legal proceedings against The Eyewear Collective stem from Thurston and her company, Ebonglen, applying for a winding up order in the Queensland Supreme Court in August 2018, alleging the company owed her $110,000.

In the event an unconditional sale does not transpire, the Deed Fund will consist of cash in the company accounts at the date of administrative appointment, money raised from a trading surplus, $500 from the director and $199,500 from future trading profits to be paid in 36 installments after the expiry of the licence agreements.

Following the appointment of Hall Chadwick last year, 37 creditors were listed as being owed $1.5 million. The largest unsecured creditor is the company’s former director and secretary, Mr Brendon Confoy, who claims to be owed around $350,000.


More reading:

Optometry ‘chain’ placed under Administration
Optometry group owes $1.5 million to creditors


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