Receivership is a process in which a secured creditor appoints a receiver to collect and sell the debtor’s assets over which the secured creditor has a security.

A private receiver (as opposed to a Court appointed receiver) cannot be appointed unless there is a contractual power to do so. Such contractual power is generally set out in the security agreement which creates security over all or some of the debtor’s assets. The security agreement would also prescribe when and in which circumstance such power can be exercised.

Only the occurrence of the default specified within the security agreement will give the right to the secured creditor to appoint a receiver. Failure to make payments on time is the most common default after which secured creditor appoint receivers in New Zealand.

Once receiver is appointed, the receiver will take control over the assets subject to the security, will run the business (if business is subject to the security), and will sell the assets to repay the secured creditor from the proceeds. In New Zealand, receiverships are conducted under the Receiverships Act 1993.

The Court has power to intervene in the secured creditor’s exercise of power of appointment of the receiver through the issuance of an injunction. Injunctions in the context of a private receivership can be sought to:

  • Preclude appointment of a receiver. Such injunction being appropriate where no receiver has been appointed yet, but there is risk of appointment; or
  • Restrain the actions of the receiver in a receivership. Such injunction being appropriate where the receiver has already been appointed.

It is important for creditors to take this into account as part of considering taking action.

For a full analysis and relevant considerations for creditors, we refer you to the article by Norling Law: https://www.norlinglaw.co.nz/blog/injunctions-to-stop-a-company-receivership.

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