Dubai based firm Network International tried to relieve investor concerns over its move to buy rival DPO and the African company's links to collapsed firm Wirecard.
Dubai , Dubai
26 January 2021, 12:00 AM
31 January 2021, 12:00 AM
Payments firm Network International said it had found no evidence of wrongdoing by DPO, the African payments company it is buying for $288m, and that DPO's links to a former Wirecard executive were "regrettable" but limited.
NI Chairman Ron Kalifa said, "The Board is satisfied there is no evidence of wrongdoing by the DPO Group," while admitting that there were "limited associations" between DPO and some individuals that are "regrettable".
The FTSE 250 payments company published a review in response to a report issued by short-seller ShadowFall in December that criticised the deal and highlighted DPO's links to Wirecard, the collapsed German online payments group.
Network unveiled the deal in July but it has not yet completed. ShadowFall highlighted concerns about a subsidiary of DPO called AconaOnline.
A report circulated to ShadowFall’s clients said that while DPO was an Africa-focused business, it was “birthed by the ‘back-room boys’ to Wirecard UK & Ireland”.
The doubts relate to DPO's unit AconaOnline (AO) (now dormant and in liquidation) which was bought from a former Wirecard executive Dietmar Knoechelmann. In response, Dubai-based NI clarified that Knoechelmann was a director of AO before it was purchased by DPO in 2013.
Network said DPO was a highly attractive asset and that it was confident in its own culture and financial discipline. It compiled the report with top City law firm Freshfields.
After scaling a record level of 658 pence last February in their two-year history on the London Stock Exchange, Shares in NI were 4% lower at 352 pence by 0839 GMT.
Investors concern over the proposed deal and a wider COVID-19 selloff wiped out half of NI's market value last year.