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July, 2024

Booktopia enters voluntary administration, explores sale and recapitalisation options

Booktopia Group and its subsidiaries have entered voluntary administration two weeks after calling a trading halt at the ASX-listed online retailer which raised fears for its financial future.

Keith Crawford, Matthew Caddy, and Damien Pasfield from McGrathNicol Restructuring have been appointed as administrators on 3 July 2024 and are now assessing Booktopia’s business and exploring options for its sale and/or recapitalisation. Trading of Booktopia Group Limited’s shares will remain suspended during the administration process.

A first statutory meeting of creditors must be held within eight business days after the administration begins, which is set to take place by Monday, 15 July 2024.

In its first half to December 2023 results, Booktopia reported a 22 per cent drop in revenue to $86.3 million, with units shipped down 21 per cent to 3.1 million. It also cited a net profit after tax loss of $16.7m, down $12.8m on the prior year, along with an EBITDA loss of $4.6m.

The dire results led Booktopia Group in February to kickstart a strategic review to tackle declining trade performance and funding requirements. The news came with the resignation of CEO, David Nenke, who had only joined in May previous year, plus CFO, Fiona Levens. Chairman, Peter George, stepped in as interim executive chairman and took on full operational responsibilities for the six months Nenke serves out his notice period. Director, Tony Nash, also assumed an executive director role.

At least 50 roles were also earmarked for redundancy across a number of departments in Booktopia’s corporate headquarters in Rhodes, Sydney, part of a restructure expected to generate $6.1m in annualised cost savings from FY25.

But it appears the planned changes were not enough. On 13 June a trading halt was called, followed by a voluntary suspension four days later after funding efforts to support its review did not materialise.

Booktopia’s voluntary administrators are now calling for those interested in recapitalising and/or acquiring the online book retailer to get in contact.