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EXCLUSIVE: Greg Smith the CEO of Victorian retailer Clive Peeters has said that he is close to a decision on the future of the business following an extensive review by KPMG. He admits that that he is talking to several interested parties with a view to getting either “an investment of capital” or an “additional shareholder”, failing this it will be “business as usual”.

Greg Smith the CEO of Victorian retailer Clive Peeters has said that he is close to a decision on the future of the business following an extensive review by KPMG. He admits that that he is talking to several interested parties with a view to getting either “an investment of capital” or an “additional shareholder”,.

“We are going to bring the issue to a conclusion soon, as there is too much uncertainty about the future of the business. We believe that it is in the best interests of everybody that that the review process which has been going on for 6 months has a finale. We are currently cutting capital expenditure and controlling inventory in an effort to preserve capital”.

When asked what will happen if no one makes a bid for the Company Smith said “This is a real possibility, it will be business as normal. I stress that we need to get this issue behind us. We have engineered the business to continue through the downturn and that is what we will do”.

Smith, who is also a major shareholder in the troubled group refused to speculate on which other retail groups, he was talking to however he categorically ruled out Woolworths as a potential investor or shareholder. However he did not rule out the Good Guys as a potential investor or even owner of the group.

Commenting on the recent Good Guys publicity in the Australian Financial Review he said “It was extremely unusual. While I have no knowledge of whether they are talking to Woolworths it does appear that something is happening as they are an extremely private Company”.

 

Smith said that during the past two weeks business had picked up but after this week’s Federal Budget he was not confident that “growth will be sustainable”.

He has also said that the Australian Federal Government may have to step in and support retailers and suppliers across the consumer electronics and appliance markets, if a potential cash-flow crisis emerges because trade insurance underwriters, such QBE, start cutting back on their exposure to the sector.  

“In Australia QBE started cutting back last year and while there are no indication currently that there will be further cuts from QBE the issue could arise similar to what has happened in Europe where Governments have had to move in to support retailers. This could be an issue for the Federal Government going forward”. 

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