Helicopter company owes $2.1m

Queenstown Airport police and management were called to help settle a civil dispute at the Heli...
Queenstown Airport police and management were called to help settle a civil dispute at the Heli Tours base in Queenstown last week after reported allegations of the attempted theft of two helicopters. Photo: James Allan Photography
A Queenstown helicopter company which went into liquidation last week owes more than $2.1million.

Heli Tours Ltd shareholders Paul Mitchell, his wife, Katherine Mitchell, of Queenstown, and John Mitchell, of Clinton, put the company in liquidation on February 12.

Liquidator Duncan Fea, of Crowe Horwath, said in his first report the business was incorporated in September 2009 and experienced "a number [of] trading challenges which affected its profitability".

"The director undertook an assessment of the company's financial position and viability and determined that the company was unable to continue to trade.

"Subsequently, the shareholders resolved to put the company into liquidation and ensure an orderly wind-up of its affairs.

"Upon appointment, the liquidator confirmed that the benefits of continuing to trade did not outweigh the costs and risks.

"The company therefore ceased to trade on February 12."

Mr Fea's initial investigation of Heli Tours' financial position showed it had total liabilities of $2,138,000 - $222,000 owing to secured creditors, $69,000 for preferential creditors, $491,000 for unsecured creditors and $1,356,000 for related party creditors.

A list of 51 known creditors included nine other helicopter operators.

Other tourism businesses listed as creditors include Cruise Milford New Zealand Ltd, Fiordland Trips and Tramps Ltd, Go Orange, Mitre Peak Cruises, and The Luxury Transport Group Ltd.

Both Queenstown Airport Corporation and Wanaka Airport are also known creditors, as are Airways NZ, BP Oil New Zealand Ltd, the Department of Conservation, and the Ministry of Transport.

Heli Tours total assets were not disclosed in the first report.

Mr Fea said fixed asset values had been omitted because disclosure would "prejudice the realisation process".

Accounts receivable, however, totalled $254,000.

Mr Fea would now realise the company's assets and collect debts owed.

"We will complete an investigation in to the affairs of the company but at this stage do not know whether this will identify any further recoveries."

The last day for creditors to lodge claims is March 25.


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