New Zealand IT trainer avoids Australian fallout

The New Zealand arm of IT training provider Computer Power has been put on the market along with its Australian counterpart, despite not being affected by the woes facing Computer Power Australia.

Earlier this month Singapore-based EasyCall, owners of Computer Power, called in administrators and suspended courses following financial difficulties in Australia.

A note on the website of administrators Ferrier Hodgson says "The New Zealand operations are not affected by the Australian administration and are operating business as usual." Nonetheless, Computer Power New Zealand has been put up for sale.

Ferrier Hodgson placed advertisements in the New Zealand media earlier this month calling for expressions of interest in buying Computer Power and Ferrier Hodgson Australia partner James Stewart says there has been healthy interest in both the New Zealand and Australian operations.

He says Computer Power New Zealand escaped the financial difficulties facing Computer Power Australia because the situation is "significantly different."

The New Zealand operation has "a much lower overhead structure," he says.

There were also "some accounting issues" associated with the Australian branch that weren't present in New Zealand, he says.

EasyCall bought the Australian, New Zealand, Singapore and Hong Kong education divisions of US recruitment and education firm Spherion in 2004.

EasyCall renamed the business Computer Power, reversing Spherion's move to rename them Spherion when it originally bought Computer Power in 1998.

Last year EasyCall launched legal action against Spherion, alleging Spherion misled it as to the state of the finances of the Computer Power businesses it bought.

Spherion's sale of its regional education businesses in 1998 is separate from the sale of its regional recruitment businesses in 2004. The New Zealand branch of Spherion Recruitment was sold to Australian firm Ross Human Directions in June 2004.

EasyCall chief executive Chia Yew Boon could not be contacted for comment.

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