Bid to reopen Kimberley Kampers hits big snag
A PROMISING bid to buy and reopen Ballina RV manufacturer Kimberley Kampers has failed after eleventh hour concerns over intellectual property rights.
Grant Clark, CEO of health equipment manufacturer K Care, reportedly lodged a successful bid last month to enter into negotiations with the liquidators of the business to acquire it as a viable concern.
It's understood Mr Clark wanted to reopen the Ballina factory as soon as possible with former employees to ensure minimal disruption.
However, last Friday it emerged that Mr Clark's negotiations had hit a major snag.
The issue related to a guarantee over the company's valuable intellectual property.
It's understood Kimberley's owner and former director Todd Cannock could not provide a guarantee, or "warranty", that the IP had not been shared with a third party.
Acccording to email sent to former staff on Friday, the IP issue killed Mr Clark's offer.
The email announced that Mr Clark's attempt at getting "KK" up and running had "not come to fruition", as "despite many hours and hundreds of thousands of dollars an issue with the warranty on the IP globally has halted the purchase".
Mr Clark was "very disheartened and saddened" at the loss of the opportunity.
The news has come as a bitter blow for former employees of the embattled business, who were pinning their hopes on a white knight after Kimberley entered liquidation in late July.
Mr Clark and liquidator SV Partners have been contacted for comment.
The issue over Kimberley's IP
A former employee of the business who did not wish to be named said Mr Cannock had "already taken the IP to China".
It's understood that Mr Cannock made an extended trip to China about a month before the business shut its doors to investigate the potential of the units being manufactured there.
Some of the components of Kimberley's products were already manufactured in China, but the units were always assembled in Ballina.
Mr Cannock, who invested in the business in late 2016, bought it outright earlier this year from former owner Bruce Loxton, who had been at the helm for over a decade and overseen the technologically advanced, high-end product line that Kimberley was renowned for.
Mr Cannock was contacted for comment.
Another bid was made for the business by a US consortium, but it's now emerged that group is looking at other options. It still holds the rights to distribute Kimberley's products in the US, a potentially very lucrative market for the brand.