Legendary Kiwi brand up for sale

One of New Zealand's most famous and oldest brands is looking for a new owner after a turbulent time in overseas hands.

Sportswear maker Canterbury of New Zealand is seeking a new investor, after its Bahrain-based owners decided to place its European business into administration.

The move has left several European sports teams looking for new gear, and the Scottish Rugby Union was yesterday forced to cancel a planned launch of its national team's kit for the new season.

A Scottish newspaper reported that the Scotland shirt was among Canterbury's best sellers.

This year, the future of Canterbury's contract with the Springboks was thrown into doubt after its South African licensee failed. A new supplier was found.

Sports teams in Australia and New Zealand have been told the latest move will not affect Canterbury's local operations, but the company's London-based administrators say the entire group, including divisions in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Africa, the Middle East and the United States, is up for sale.

Accounts filed with the Companies Office show Canterbury has been losing money for several years.

The most recent accounts available, for 2007, show it lost $5.5 million - an improvement on the $18.2 million loss the previous year.

The New Zealand operations made a small profit, but all other subsidiaries lost a hefty amount of money.

Canterbury is best known for its rugby jerseys, but in its heyday in the 1960s it produced a wide range of clothing made in New Zealand, from suits to underwear.

It supplied the All Blacks' jerseys for 75 years, but lost that contract to adidas in 1999.

Its parent company, LWR, was sold to American-based New Zealander David Teece in the late 90s.

In 2001 Mr Teece sold LWR to a Christchurch couple, but kept the Canterbury business for himself and his partners.

Several industry figures said yesterday they believed Mr Teece had tried hard to build up the business, but it had expanded into too many new areas, including cricket, golf, football and casualwear.

Last year it opened its first retail outlet in Europe, and more shops were planned for Europe and New York.

Although Mr Teece is still a part-owner of Canterbury, the company is controlled by a Bahrain private equity fund, owned by a Kuwaiti bank, Kuwait Finance House (KFH).

KFH-Bahrain has several other investments in New Zealand, including stake in Woosh Wireless and the Radius Health Group.

Canterbury's Australasian chief executive, Scott Chapman, said he had briefed the company's customers - including the Warriors and the Australian Rugby Union - and all had been "very, very positive and supportive, which is nice ... . at this difficult time".

Canterbury has four stores in New Zealand, and employs about 60 non-retail staff on both sides of the Tasman.

It would be business as usual for these workers, Mr Chapman said.

It was possible there might be local interest in buying back the company.

"This brand is 105 years old and it's been through many, many shareholders," he said.

"It's been through two world wars. When it lost the All Blacks the world was going to cave in, and it's still a very strong brand.

"I'm sure somebody will jump at the opportunity."

British sports fans have made their anger about the decision known.

On one fan site, footballshirtculture.com, several expressed their disappointment.

"I feel so sorry for the clubs who have Canterbury as their kit supplier because the kits are just so nicely done," was a typical comment.

The European division has terminated all its sponsorship contracts and laid off 72 of its 86 staff.

Several high-profile rugby union and league teams in Europe had deals with Canterbury.

They included the Scottish national team, the London Wasps and Cardiff.

The company branched out into soccer clothing two years ago.

* This article i s from The New Zealand Herald

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
food + drink
Life and Style
Shoppers in Covent Garden, London, celebrate after they were the first to buy the iPhone 6, released yesterday
tech
News
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck stars as prime suspect Nick Dunne in the film adaptation of Gone Girl
filmBen Affleck and Rosamund Pike excel in David Fincher's film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
fashion
News
news
News
people
Travel
Warner Bros released a mock-up of what the new Central Perk will look like
travel
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Website Editor

£15 - £17 Per Hour: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently r...

Year 2 Teacher - Maternity cover

£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Year 2 maternity cover, startin...

KS1 Teacher

£95 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Key Stage 1 teacher require...

Upper KS2 Teacher

£120 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Upper Key Stage 2 teacher ...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments