Following last week’s bombshell news that 139 employees would likely be out of work due to the liquidation of Viaduct Quays Hotel Ltd, operator of Accor’s Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour, Accom News heard from Accor’s PR Consultant for New Zealand, Fiji & French Polynesia, Katharine Broughton.
She stressed that the impact of Covid-19 “is devastating” and clarified:
We are working closely with our owners and partners to support them through this challenging time. The temporary closure of the Sofitel Auckland Viaduct is a result of the impacts of Covid-19.
In this instance the owners will take the opportunity to reposition the hotel as a more boutique offering, and as such are undertaking some refurbishment to have a mini-facial. Accor is proud to have Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour in Auckland and welcomes the owner’s foresight and commitment to the property.
She also confirmed that “it is the hotel’s intention to reopen in Spring and bring the essence of French flair back to life”, which could be good news for the property’s many employees.
The registered company operating the waterfront hotel, Viaduct Quays Hotel Limited was placed into liquidation on July 6, according to new insolvency documents filed this week.The owner of Viaduct Quays Hotel Ltd is Prakash Pandey, who is from wealthy hotelier family and recently announced plans to spend $100 million on major makeovers and upgrades of local hotels through CPG Hotels Group, reported to be worth $500 million. A huge renovation of the Fat Camel ex-backpackers in Auckland CBD is already underway.
The family is one of the largest private owners of hotels in New Zealand. It owns 11 hotels in New Zealand and three in Fiji managed by Accor brands and owns 10 in the United States managed by various international brands.
Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour Hotel was the joint winner of the 2019 HM Awards New Zealand Hotel of the Year. The loss of its 139 employees hits the accom industry hard and highlights how difficult 2020 has been despite support, it was confirmed that the company had received government wage subsidies.
In a report made public online, liquidators advised that the hotel ceased to trade as a result of the COVID-19 epidemic’s impact on “customer numbers” and “it could not be used as an isolation facility”.
Liquidator Baker Tilly Staples Rodway Auckland Limited clarified the relationship between Viaduct Quays Hotel Ltd and the well known luxury brand that manages its Auckland property in an initial report to creditors and shareholders: “The Company operated the Sofitel Viaduct Harbour in Auckland, which was managed externally and from leasehold premises.”
It also advised that “the liquidation should not result in loss to third party creditors”.
Subsequent to the date of the Liquidators’ appointment, all employee claims have been cleared.
The report also issued the names of creditors claiming money in the fallout, including some well known brand leaders in NZ.
When a company enters liquidation, a liquidator is appointed to investigate the company’s financial affairs, establish the cause of its failure, and investigate possible offences by the company or a director. Liquidated companies are closed and removed from the Companies Register.
Accom News has reached out to CPG for comment.