Spearwood Diffen store closes doors

THE administrator of Ian Diffen World of Tyres & Mufflers has closed its Spearwood store as he moves toward a sale or capital injection for the business.

The business was placed into voluntary administration in mid May, just a fortnight after the death of company founder and chairman, Ian Diffen.

A spokesman for the administrator, PPB Ashton Read partner Jeff Herbert, said approximately 20 groups had requested an information memorandum with details of the group’s structure and financial position.

The two options for the business are a trade sale or an injection of capital to reduce debt and strengthen its financial position.

Mr Herbert is seeking to keep the current business structure intact in order to maximise its value.

This includes the collective buying arrangement for the group’s parent company Exuma Pty Ltd and its franchised stores and country agents.

However, a review by the administrator found the company owned Spearwood store was unprofitable and therefore it was closed last Saturday.

That leaves five company owned stores in Perth, 10 franchised stores in Perth, 11 agents in rural Western Australia and 11 company owned stores in Queensland.

Collectively the group has annual sales of more than $20 million and claims to be the largest tyre retailer in WA, with a 25 per cent market share.

Mr Herbert has obtained court approval to extend his ‘convening period’ until October 1, which enables the business to be maintained while a purchaser or investor is sought.

The second meeting of creditors will be held after October 1.

Although the administrator refused to comment on potential buyers of the business, they would include Bob Jane T-Marts, which has two self-branded stores in Perth and bought the 16-store Tom’s Tyres business in 1999.

Bob Jane and Ian Diffen had been business partners, but in 1997 they became direct competitors after Mr Diffen expanded to Queensland and Mr Jane expanded to WA.

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