Final day of trading for Max Brenner in Townsville.
Final day of trading for Max Brenner in Townsville.

Max Brenner’s lifeline falls through

IT WAS just yesterday when confectionery fans were celebrating the last-minute rescue of one of Australia's biggest chocolate brands, Max Brenner.

Only hours ago, news broke that the ailing chain - which went into voluntary administration earlier this month - had been rescued from liquidation by investment office Tozer & Co.

However, this morning, it appears that this lifeline is no longer available, according to liquidators BDO.

While the liquidators had explored a transaction with Tozer & Co in relation to the trading of the business and the acquisition of Max Brenner in Australia, BDO has announced the idea is not going ahead.

"That transaction has not been entered into by the liquidators at this time," a spokesman told Fairfax.

"We will continue to trade the company while we explore options with the licensor, Max Brenner Industries Ltd, regarding the Max Brenner brand in Australia.

"Today it is business as usual."

The chain was forced to close 20 stores across the country.
The chain was forced to close 20 stores across the country.

It is unclear why the transaction was pulled.

After yesterday's announcement, the company said it would keep its remaining cafes open and trading as usual as it sought to finalise a transaction over coming months.

A costly renovation of the company's head office in Alexandria, Sydney, reportedly caused major financial pain. Reports suggested the company stopped paying staff superannuation for the last half of 2016.

The Max Brenner brand began in Israel as a small chain of chocolate shops. Founders Tom and Lilly Haikin the expanded the business to Australia, opening their first cafe in Sydney's Paddington in 1999.

The pair, who made BRW's Young Rich list in 2013 with a fortune of $40 million, branched out across the country soon after.

The chain's success saw it spread as far as the US, Japan, Singapore, Russia and China.

Earlier this month, it was announced the chain was going into voluntary administration in Australia.

 

The chain’s future in Australia remains uncertain. Picture: Richard Gosling
The chain’s future in Australia remains uncertain. Picture: Richard Gosling

 

After the closure of stores across the country, staff members told news.com.au the "toxic" company has been serving up store-bought ice cream at premium prices and letting food hygiene slip - after being let go without pay and superannuation.

Nine stores remain open in NSW, four in Victoria, three in Queensland and one in the ACT.

Tozer & Co is in charge of a range of assets including technology, consumer products and financial service.



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