Hamilton Locke recently advised Liam Healey and Quentin Olde of Ankura in their capacity as voluntary administrators of Coffex Coffee Pty Ltd (Subject to Deed of Company Arrangement) (Company) on its successful administration and sale of assets to Bean Alliance Group Pty Ltd (Bean Alliance).
In November 2022, the Company, one of Australia’s largest coffee roasters, appointed Quentin Olde and Liam Healey of Ankura as voluntary administrators (Administrators). Following their appointment, the Administrators took immediate steps to stabilise the Company’s business and continued to trade whilst undertaking a sale process.
Whilst the sales process attracted a number of interested parties (both competitors and opportunistic buyers), given the timing of the Company’s administration overlapped with the Christmas holiday period, there was an unfortunate delay in the provision of binding offers capable of acceptance. Given the strength of the business and the prospects of a sale as a going concern, the Administrators elected to adjourn to the second meeting and continue negotiations with a select group of likely buyers. Bean Alliance, a Melbourne based coffee roaster, was ultimately chosen as the successful bidder. The parties entered into an asset sale agreement in early March, which resulted in the vast majority of employees retaining employment and the continuance of the Company’s business in various locations across Australia and New Zealand. The sale was completed on 3 April 2023.
Separate to the sale process, the director of the Company put forward a deed of company arrangement (DOCA) which was approved at the reconvened second meeting of creditors that effectively ensured a better return to creditors of the Company as the claims of certain related parties were limited.
The proceeds of the sale to Bean Alliance will go towards the DOCA fund and will be made available for all non-transferring employees (whose entitlements will be paid in full) and unsecured creditors on a pari passu basis.
Commenting on the transaction, Nicholas Edwards, Head of Restructuring and Insolvency at Hamilton Locke said: “The sale of the Coffex business ensures an iconic brand will survive, unburdened by past financial difficulties and with the majority of employees keeping their jobs. This transaction highlights the flexibility afforded to administrators, especially in a difficult sale environment. By taking a view on the business and the likelihood of sale, adjourning the second meeting and pushing hard on the sales process, the Administrators were able to lock in a credible and natural buyer in Bean Alliance. Quentin and Liam did a wonderful job managing all stakeholders, ensuring that they were in a position to achieve the best outcome for creditors as a result of the sale.”
The Administrator, Liam Healey said “The sale of Coffex to Bean Alliance Group is a great outcome for all stakeholders, including employees, suppliers and Coffex’s loyal customer base. The sale has meant that the majority of jobs have been saved and the continuation of a historic and much-loved brand under new ownership. It has been a pleasure to work with Ange Augello and the team at Bean Alliance, as well as our legal advisors Hamilton Locke as part of this transaction.”.
The Hamilton Locke team was led by restructuring and insolvency partner Nicholas Edwards and assisted by senior associate Kassandra Adams and lawyer Ariane Thierry. Special counsel Tim Zahara of Hamilton Locke’s employment team also assisted.