No buyers for Optima

Optima's administrator yesterday said it was having trouble finding buyers for the failed PC maker due to fears about liability for warranties on sold PCs.

Optima's administrator yesterday said it was having trouble finding buyers for the failed PC maker due to fears about liability for warranties on sold PCs.

"The big problem for Optima in terms of taking it over was the liability for future warranties," said David Mansfield, one of the joint administrators from Moore Stephens, which was appointed in late July.

The largest single creditor to make a claim on the business is the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority which in August made a claim for $1.5 million, hoping to be reimbursed for outstanding warranties on some of the 5,000 PCs it had acquired from Optima since 2006.

It's for this reason that Moore Stephens has been unable to find buyers that would be willing to take on the business.

"[The warranties] probably put a lot of people off considering taking over the assets of the business as a whole," said Mansfield.

"The RTA is only one of many [Optima] sold computers to, so there's a whole lot of warranty issues. At the end of day that potential liability was seen as too great and carried too much uncertainty," he added.

While the RTA was currently negotiating a deal with Lenovo to secure the supply of its PCs in the future, its $1.5 million claim is highly unlikely to be realised, and would only occur if and when Optima could repay employees and secured creditors.

"As a general rule, it's employees first, then secured creditors, and then unsecured creditors," said Mansfield.

"The RTA's claim for future warranty claims on computers they have is contingent. That may or may not come to pass... That's something we would address if and when we have the money," he added.

Moore Stephens has so far focused its efforts on selling Optima's existing stock, but soon plans to put the remaining assets up for sale at auction.

There is some hope still alive for Optima Technology's retail arm, Digital City, according to Mansfield, however the RTA has not made a claim against this business.

"In relation to Digital City, we're still exploring a couple of options. There has been some interest in Digital City," he said.

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