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Independent Liquor gets $12m for chain

NZN 16/06/2016 Edwin Mitson

Independent Liquor NZ sold The Mill liquor chain for a total of $12 million, its financial accounts show.

Independent Liquor, the Papakura-based liquor chain owned by the Japan's Asahi Group, bought The Mill for $18.2 million in 2013 but wrote down the value of the assets last year.

It transformed The Mill into a mainstream retailer from a discount liquor chain before putting the business up for sale to focus on its branded beverages such as Woodstock Bourbon and Boundary Road beer.

In October 2015, Foodstuffs agreed to buy 21 of the stores and rebrand them as part of its Liquorland chain. A spokesperson for Asahi said the Mill chain had more than 30 stores, with the remainder sold to a number of different operators. Asahi said it was unable to disclose the details of these sales.

Independent received $12.3m for the stores, booking a profit after costs of $2.5m.

Sales rose 3.8 per cent to $me in calendar 2015. It posted a profit of $200,000, up from a loss of $52.5m in the year earlier. Independent wrote down the value of its brands by $5.4m, following writedowns of $254.7m in the previous year as Asahi reconciled the excess cost of the acquisition with the fair value of net identifiable assets.

Interest of $14.2m was paid on loans to related parties, while Independent has an outstanding loan from Asahi's Australian arm of $149.9m, on which it is paying 7 per cent interest.

The notes to the accounts flag that the company's current liabilities exceed its current assets but state that Asahi Holdings (Australia) has confirmed it will not call in the loan over the next year.

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