Bloomberg News

ABC Learning, Villemont, Kaupthing, Dix Kuroki: Bankruptcy

November 14, 2008

ABC Learning Centres Ltd., the Australian childcare operator seized by lenders last week, received approaches from at least four groups to buy some of its operations, the nation's Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard said.

The groups include profit and non-profit businesses, Gillard said today at a press conference in Melbourne, without providing further details. ABC Learning doesn't require additional funding at this time, she said.

Australia pledged A$22 million ($15 million) Nov. 7 to keep 1,100 childcare centers open until at least Dec. 31 after the company appointed outside managers having failed to resolve its debt obligations.

``The receiver has had a range of enquiries,'' Gillard said. ``Not-for-profits have indicated interest, as well as four private companies,'' she said, without providing the names of the companies.

ABC Learning won't close any of its operations before the end of the year and the government expects ``many'' centers to remain open beyond Dec. 31, Gillard said. The government will provide an update in December after speaking with the childcare operator's administrators, she said.

Swiss Watchmaker Villemont Mulls Bankruptcy on Slumping Demand

Montres Villemont SA, a Swiss watchmaker, said it's considering filing for bankruptcy after demand ``collapsed'' in Asia and eastern Europe.

Villemont is losing 400,000 Swiss francs ($336,000) a month and considers it is ``no longer possible to ensure the survival of the company,'' the watchmaker said in an e-mailed statement today.

The credit crunch and global financial crisis is leading clients to cancel orders, according to Villemont, which said it had sales of 1.1 million francs last year.

Exports of Switzerland's 400 watch brands have slowed this year after growing 16 percent in 2007, the fastest pace in 18 years. Shipments of timepieces wholesaling at between 200 francs and 3,000 francs declined in the five months through September. Exports may drop 5 percent in value next year, Mario Montagnani, a Credit Agricole Cheuvreux analyst, wrote in a Sept. 30 note.

Villemont said it is considering filing for a ``moratorium,'' similar to a U.S. Chapter 11 filing, or for bankruptcy.

Kaupthing Holds `Constructive' Meeting With Largest Creditors

Kaupthing Bank hf, the Icelandic lender that was nationalized by the country's government last month, has held a ``constructive'' meeting with the largest creditors of the failed bank, once Iceland's largest.

The bank's resolution committee plans another meeting within a month, the Reykjavik-based lender said in a statement on Nov. 12. The committee ``looks forward to working with the informal creditors' committee toward a solution which maximizes recovery for all stakeholders,'' it said.

Dix Kuroki to File for Bankruptcy With 18.1 Billion Yen Debt

Dix Kuroki Co., a Japanese real-estate developer, will file for bankruptcy protection today with the Fukuoka District Court after accumulating 18.1 billion yen ($186 million) in liabilities.

The company made the announcement in a statement to the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

To contact the reporter on this story: Caroline Binham in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at

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