Popular cheese-maker Zany Zeus goes into receivership

Popular boutique cheese-making company Zany Zeus has hit financial difficulties while setting up a new factory, but its receiver is hopeful business will remain "as usual".

PwC director Richard Nacey received the company on 2 December.

He said the current factory in Moera, Lower Hutt, had been working at capacity for some time and the owners were in the midst of setting up a larger factory.

"So they've been fitting that out, and they've experienced a whole lot of cost overruns and time overruns which has put a lot of cashflow pressure on the business," he said.

"A business can't continue to operate when it can't continue to pay its debts with the cashflow pressure and so they've had no option but to request the appointment of receivers."

Nacey said it would take a few days to evaluate the best way forward, with one option being to sell some assets purchased for the new factory fit-out.

"One of the other options is if we can either get some additional funding into this or if we sell the business there's an option for the new purchaser to continue to develop that factory and move in when it's finished."

He said for now, the business could continue to operate, with its debt frozen.

"In this case we are trading the business. We are trying to run it on very much a business-as-usual basis while we evaluate what the best option is going forwards.

"So the factory's still operating. There's any adjoining cafe that's still operating. All 29 staff remain employed.

'It's a great brand and a great core business, so hopefully we can continue to keep operating."

Zany Zeus' website said the company began when Michael Matsis, inspired by the way his mother made halloumi cheese, decided to research cheese-making.

In 2000, he started Zany Zeus with his sister Meropi.

In 2003, the company purchased a HTST Pasteurisation System with homogeniser, separator and bottling plant and began to process organic milk under the 'Zorganic' brand.

Since then the company has expanded to produce cheese, milk, cream, mascarpone, sour cream, crème fraiche, cream cheese, yoghurt and ice cream to around 400 customers, including restaurants cafes and supermarkets.

Its cafe in Moera, which opened in 2012, often sports lines of people out the door.

This article was originally published on RNZ and re-published with permission.

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