Canterbury: ‘it’s business as usual’

Canterbury of New Zealand is reassuring sporting teams in Australia and New Zealand  that it is  business as usual even though the high profile brand is reported to be for sale again and it's European arm is in administration.

While it is believed the demise of Canterbury Europe will not impact the Australasian operations, the company's London-based administrators say the entire group is up for sale, according to national newspaper The New Zealand Herald.

This includes divisions in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Africa, the Middle East and the United States.

The company, which supplied jerseys to the All Blacks for 75 years before losing the contract to Adidas in 1999, was sold to America-based New Zealand David Teece in the late 1990s.

While Teece still has a stake in the company, it is now controlled by a Bahrain private equity fund, according to the New Zealand Herald.

Administrators KPMG Restructuring say the company went into administration after unsuccessfully trying to expand into new areas including sports such as cricket and golf. The company has also been hit by the weakening of the pound.

Canterbury Europe's troubles have left the Scottish Rugby Union and a number of English and Irish clubs without a clothing sponsor. The Britain-based European operation will make 72 of its 86 employees redundant.

In January, the South African arm of Canterbury went belly-up, directly affecting the Springboks and Super 14 franchises; Sharks, Cheetahs and Lions, according to the New Zealand Herald.

But in March Canterbury New Zealand came to the rescue with a four-year sponsorship of South Africa covering the 2009 Lions Series and the IRB Rugby World Cup in New Zealand in 2011 and Canterbury took over the responsibilities of the South African franchisee.

According to the New Zealand Herald, Canterbury has 60 non-retail staff on either side of the Tasman, including  stores in New Zealand and Australia.

Canterbury's Australasian CEO Scott Chapman is reported as saying  there may be local interest in buying back the company.

Canterbury’s major deals in  Australasia include domestic rugby in New Zealand, the Warriors league club and a recent agreement with national cricket team , the Black Caps. In Australia Canterbury has deals with the  Wallabies and  the Queensland State of Origin team.

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