Stonewood Homes

Stonewood Homes directors: Clint Webber and John and Michael Chow.

Chow brothers rescue fire business from receivership

16 December 2016

Hot on the heels of buying Stonewood Homes out of receivership earlier this year, John and Michael Chow have again teamed up with corporate finance specialist Clint Webber – this time to rescue the troubled fire services company AFS Total Fire Protection.

Earlier this year the Chow/Webber finance company Inno Capital acquired AFS’s bank debt and was working on a rescue buyout.

However when IRD advised it would seek to liquidate the company today (Friday 16 December), Inno took action to protect its loan by appointing Waterstone Insolvency as receivers.

The Chows and Webber confirmed they have today reached agreement with receivers Damien Grant and Steven Khov to acquire the assets of the business into their new company Stonewood Fire Services Limited.

John Chow said the decision to buy the assets quickly before Christmas was influenced strongly by wanting to give AFS’s more than 50 staff some certainty over the holiday break, even though no job guarantees could be made until Inno had fully reviewed the company’s books and processes.

“Our end goal is to bring AFS back as a major player in the fire protection services industry.

“I’m confident my team can get the company back into top shape quickly, just as we’ve done with Stonewood Homes,” said John Chow.

Clint Webber said that it was also very important to act with urgency for AFS’s clients.

“If we’d let the company go into liquidation a lot of businesses would have been left with an uncertain fire protection and monitoring service over the summer holiday period.

“By reaching an urgent deal with the receivers to buy the assets of the business as a going concern, we not only save jobs, we have potentially saved buildings. Given the nature of this industry sector there was a strong imperative to act in a corporately responsible way and I can assure all AFS clients right now that the business will continue without interruption,” said Webber.

AFS has offices in Auckland, Wellington, Tauranga and Christchurch and designs, installs, maintains and monitors fire sprinkler and alarm systems. Clients include AMP, Auckland Transport and DHL.

Established in 2015 Inno Capital aims to become one of New Zealand’s leading private funders, specialising in backing ventures typically avoided by banks. Employee numbers across Inno Capital and Inno-owned business operations now total more than 200 nationally.

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