Friday, January 23, 2015

Businessnews! Target Canada owes more than $5B to creditors

Shoppers enter a Target store in Toronto on Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015. CP
Torstar News Service
Target Canada owes money to nearly 1,800 businesses around the world, from India to Shanghai and Brampton to Winnipeg.

The list runs 44 typed pages. It includes 3greenmoms, makers of eco-friendly sandwich bags in Potomac, MD ($3,751); 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment in Toronto ($3.7 million) and the Banhat Rattan Bamboo Co-operative in Ho Chi Minh City ($1,596).

It owes $1,926 to the Retail Council of Canada and $433,248 to Roots Canada Ltd. Roots was behind the popular Beaver Canoe line of goods tailor-made for Target Canada.

It owes Revenue Quebec $6.529 million. It owes more than $12 million to the Canada Revenue Agency.

“Did I see this coming? No,” said Jennifer Carlson, founder, Baby Gourmet Foods Inc., an Edmonton-based company owed $62,701.

Carlson said her first thought, when she heard the news of Target Canada shutting down, was for the employees who would be losing their jobs, and their families.

“Target was a great partner for us and at this point, it’s going to be (about) growing with our other retail partners,” said Carlson.

Target Canada announced last week it was seeking creditor protection as it winds down operations, closing all 133 stores and putting 17,600 people out of work over the next five months.

As of Thursday, all Starbucks operating within Target stores will be closed, a Target spokesman confirmed.

“Generally speaking, the team members will be re-assigned to other areas of the store,” said Target’s Eric Hausman.

Unable to keep shelves stocked and customers interested in their retail offering, Target executives made the decision to leave Canada rather than spend another five years chasing profits.

It has lost about $7 billion on its Canadian operations so far.

On paper, it seems that Target is in a position to pay off all creditors in full, with assets and liabilities both in the $5-billion range. But the true value of the recorded assets is always less than stated, said Ira Smith of Ira Smith, Trustee and Receiver Inc.

“Everything gets recorded at original cost — what they paid for the assets. When they do the inventory sale, they will not recoup the original cost. The racking and fixtures, once they shut down, is by the pound,” said Smith.

Some assets listed by Target include credit owing from vendors, but as Smith points out, once Target Canada stops paying the vendors, the vendors won’t be making good on those credits.

What Target Canada will be able to realize from the sales of leases and properties it owns will also likely be less than what they originally paid.

“Who is going to step in and pay what they did? No one,” said Smith.

Some – not all – the properties leased to Target Canada, were guaranteed by the parent corporation in Minneapolis.

Target likely has its own internal estimate, but that is not something it is going to share, said Smith.

Target Canada has 30 days from the date of filing for creditor protection to present a plan that will satisfy creditors. It may also seek a 30-day extension from the courts, said Smith.

The parent company is owed at least $3.1 billion, but Smith, who has read the filings, said the amount is unsecured.

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