EXCLUSIVE: “High Flying” Kaiser Baas Goes Bust With $3.8m In Liabilities
12 months ago, Evan Kourambas was bragging about how well his Kaiser Baas business was doing, today the Melbourne based distributor is being liquidated with debts of over $3.8M.
Back in early 2017, he claimed that an expansion into the UK, Europe and the Middle East was going “so well” for his distribution business that he no longer saw the Australian market as his prime source of revenue.
In January 2017 he even gave an interview with the Irish Times on “How to grow and scale a tech company”.
He even set up an office in St Albans just outside of London, appointing Exertis as his UK distributor. Today they are now a creditor owed in excess of $875,971,76.
Kourambas was remarkably quiet following the resignation late last year of sales director Neil Kaberry who was credited with growing the Companies business in Europe.
Kaberry who 18 months ago took on the role as global sales director for Kaiser Baas, based in London is now Senior Business Development Director at Melbourne based Directed after quitting the struggling distributor.
This is not the first time that Kourambas has bailed out of a business, prior to Kaiser Baas he was the CEO of Pineapplehead and after that Lako Vision.
What is not known is how much New Zealand based distributor Exeed paid, back in December 2017, when they acquired the Kaiser Baas stock and not the business.
It’s also been revealed that Scholastic Australia at the time had litigation in place against Kaiser Baas.
Back in October 2017 Kourambas approached a Melbourne based insolvency Company to discuss the legal issues associated with his struggling business.
Also discussed was the proposed purchase of Kaiser Bass stock by Exceed, at the time Kaiser Baas had commitments to supply stock to various retailers including JB Hi Fi and Harvey Norman.
It appears that he was aware that Kaiser Bass, who had also taken a big hit with the withdrawal from sale and the eventual banning of Hoverboards, was close to being insolvent. It also appears that Kaiser Baas was not able to supply retailers because his stock was being held due to none payment of debts.
A meeting between Martyn Smith, Richard Herbert and Desmond Ling from Exceed and Kourambas, on 26th of October 2017, revealed that there was already a “debtor/creditor relationship between the two Companies and that Exeed wanted to purchase the stock.
What was discussed was the potential release of a security hold by Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (EFI). They also discussed the orders that they had with mainstream retailers.
On the 13th of December 2017 an agreement was reached resulting in Exeed purchasing the stock from EFI.
What is not known is whether Exceed became a preferred creditor ahead of a meeting called on 17th of January 2018 to discuss the ongoing crisis still unfolding at the Melbourne based distributor.
Today that stock is still being ranged at JB Hi Fi, Big W and Harvey Norman.
Back in December Kourambas told ChannelNews that Exceed had acquired the Kaiser Baas business, not just the stock.
We are also aware that Kourambas who met with a Sydney based distributor was still trying to sell the business in December 2017. He made no mention at the time that the business was in trouble.
According to the Liquidators report UK based consumer electronics group Maplin who Kourambas bragged was buying “hundreds of thousands of dollar’s worth” of Kaiser Baas stock is owed $28, 397.
Maplin was placed into liquidation earlier this year.
Also listed as a creditor is Mrs Dora Kourambas who claims she is owed $347,849. What’s not been explained is whether this was a loan to the Company or a tax write off.
Another creditor is Lako Finance who claim that they are owed $1,493,934. The liquidator, Melbourne based Romanis Cant claims that this amount is yet to be determined. Lako Pacific Finance is registered at the same address as Kaiser Baas.
We can also reveal that Romanis Cant had had a prior relationship with Kourambas.
On the 17th of May 2015 the Company was appointed the liquidator of Lako Pacific Finance Pty Ltd, formerly trading as Kaiser Baas Pty Ltd as trustees for the Kourambas Business Trust which was a ‘related entity’.