Wirecard administrator accepts sale of part of operations in Asia

The Wirecard administrator has struck a deal to sell off much of the vanished company’s operations in Asia, in a deal that ushers in the latest step in the dismantling of the collapsed German payments group.

Payment firm backed by Finch Capital, an Amsterdam-based venture capital fund, to acquire Wirecard legal entities in the Philippines, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Thailand, as well as the regional data warehouse of the company in Singapore, its headquarters in Asia-Pacific.

The tech holding company of an Indonesian group bought the Wirecard unit in the country, which has 360 employees in Indonesia and Malaysia.

“Following a difficult bidding process, we were able to sell the companies at the best possible price and secure substantial flows to debtors’ assets in Germany,” said Michael Jaffé, administrator of Wirecard based in Munich. Business units “worth keeping” will continue to operate, he added.

Wirecard collapsed into insolvency last June in one of the country’s biggest accounting frauds. Since then, Jaffé has divested the company’s activities in the Americas, UK and Continental Europe. Last October, Syncapay, a US-based payment solutions holding company, acquired Wirecard North America, while Spanish lender Santander paid around 100 million euros a month later for the core of Wirecard business in Europe. The German company’s banking unit will be liquidated.

The transactions will further reduce what is left of Wirecard in Asia Pacific, a region where it grew aggressively at its peak. One of the main remaining assets is Wirecard’s payment business in India.

The size of Finch Capital’s operation – which includes customers, licenses and more than 120 Wirecard employees – has fallen below the roughly € 200 million paid by the German group to Citigroup to acquire its portfolio of merchants. Radboud Vlaar, managing partner at Finch Capital, declined to give further details.

In 2017, Wirecard acquired 20,000 merchant customers from the US lender, spread across 11 Asia-Pacific countries, as part of an ambitious deal that aimed to make the company a household name in the region. Citigroup said it left the company globally.

Customers fled Wirecard after admitting last year that 1.9 billion euros allegedly held in Filipino bank accounts were missing.

The Singapore Monetary Authority, the country’s central bank, ordered Wirecard in September to stop payment services, after the city-state launched a criminal investigation into the group as well as affiliates and agents.

But Vlaar said there were still many blue chip clients left, including well-known international names such as European-based companies operating in Asia.

The acquisition will help Nomu Pay of Finch Capital, which announced last month that it would acquire the Turkish subsidiary of Wirecard, to set up an e-commerce and payments company in Asia.

Vlaar added, “We’re always looking to what extent an acquisition helps us be faster, compared to an organic route.”

Finch Capital’s deal is expected to close next month subject to regulatory approval, with the exception of the Philippines, where the central bank could take up to three months to give the green light.

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