Future in the balance for ABC North

OFFERS have officially closed for bidders looking to snap up one or more of 241 ABC Learning child-care centres, including ABC Grafton North.

The 241 centres, known as the ABC2 Group, were found to be unviable under the ABC Learning business model last year and put up for sale.

The Federal Government has agreed to keep the centres open until March 31 while buyers are sought.

Yesterday, ABC2 Group's court-appointed receivers, Stephen Parbery and Daniel Bryant of PPB, said 180 parties had made binding offers for one or more of the centres.

Mr Parbery said PPB would now work progressively through each offer to determine the optimal outcome for all stakeholders.

“We will continue to consult with interested parties and other stakeholders, such as landlords, in order to conclude the sale or transfer process,” he said.

Parents and staff at ABC Grafton North, in Arthur Street, will have to wait several weeks before they know whether the centre will remain open past March 31, with Mr Parbery refusing to reveal specific details about the offers or comment on individual centres.

“While the process remains on track, details of the offers remain commercially sensitive as disclosing specific information could prejudice the sale process,” he said.

At least one bidder has no problem with being named.

The consortium of six not-for-profit organisations, known as Children 21, has made a bid to purchase all 241 ABC2 Group centres.

No Clarence Valley child-care centre has come forward publicly with an offer to buy the Arthur Street centre.

Federal Education Minister Julia Gillard did not respond when The Daily Examiner asked what would happen to any centres which remain unsold after March 31.

However, Ms Gillard's spokeswoman said each of the 241 centres had at least one offer at the end of the expression of interest process.

“The court-appointed receiver (PPB), with assistance from the Government, is aiming to resolve the future of all centres under their control by March 31,” the spokeswoman said.

ABC2 group timeline
  • February 25: Binding offers to purchase one or more of the 241 ABC Learning childcare centres closed at 5pm.

  • Now: Court-appointed receiver PPB will review each offer. The process is expected to take several weeks.

  • March 31: The Federal Government will provide financial assistance to keep the 241 centres until March 31. Centres need to be sold or transferred by this date.

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