Solutions 30 remains under pressure after Muddy Waters’ open letter

Solutions 30 remains under pressure after Muddy Waters’ open letter
Solutions 30 remains under pressure after Muddy Waters’ open letter
(AOF) – Less than a week after the publication of an investigation whitening Solutions 30, suspected since the end of 2020 of links with organized crime, Muddy Waters is back on the attack. If the Solutions 30 stock had then jumped by more than 27%, it dropped yesterday by 14.16% and continued its decline today, yielding a little more than 4% signing the largest drop in the SBF 120 at 11:45 am.

As a reminder, the activist fund judges that the letters from Deloitte Finance and Didier Kling Expertise & Conseil contain “overwhelming details on Solutions 30, and its handling of the investigation”.

“In short, they do nothing to allay our concerns about S30’s multiple and enduring links to individuals associated with organized crime and money laundering. We call on law enforcement authorities to investigate Solutions 30, as well as the people and entities in its network, ”writes Muddy Waters.

Three irrefutable proofs

Muddy Waters cites three “compelling evidence”. He first noted that 6 months of emails covering the period January to June 2019 from the Director General, Gianbeppi Fortis, could not be found despite the use of the recovery tool.

The fund also underlines that the work of Deloitte “made it possible to verify this allegation [de Muddy Waters] a difference of 4.2 million euros between the price paid by Solutions 30 to buy back CPCP and the sum obtained by the seller.

In his letter, Muddy Waters writes that Deloitte asserted that the payments were not “performance fees” but “are in fact operating expenses incurred by LFB Solutions on behalf of CPCP Telecom”. LFB Solutions was owned by Laura Leger, he recalls. The fund believes “that LFB was a related party at the time because Mr. Leger was president of CPCP Telecom around the time of these payments.” “If this is true, in our opinion, S30 should have disclosed these payments as related party transactions,” concludes Muddy Waters.

The latter cites as third irrefutable proof that Deloitte has confirmed its analysis of Balkans Shared Services. In a previous letter, the fund had highlighted the possibility of money laundering when S30 paid next to nothing for BSS, which had owned IT Special Services SPV Srl, an undisclosed subsidiary with at least € 188,000 in assets. .

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Key points

– European number 1 group in multi-technical digital equipment deployment and maintenance services created in 2003;

– Revenue of € 682 million in 2019, 64% achieved in France, ahead of the Benelux, Germany, Italy, the Iberian Peninsula, and Poland;

– 68% of revenues derived from telecoms (30% share of the French market), 16% from energy and 11% from the IT sector;

– Business model:

– combining internal and external growth (30 acquisitions since its creation) with duplication of the French model in Europe in order to address large accounts and new markets, – based on 3 pillars – territorial network with 11,000 technicians, S30net platform for sharing ‘expertise and provision of human skills and large volumes of intervention;

– Open capital, Gianbeppi Fortis, co-founder and chairman of the management board, holding 16.2%, Alexander Sator chairing the supervisory board of 6 independent members;

– Very solid financial position with shareholders’ equity of € 149m at the end of June 2020 against a net debt of € 27m (cash net of debt of € 46m excluding the impact of IFRS 16) and cash of € 152m at the end of June.

Stakes

– Strategy aiming in the medium term for one billion euros in turnover via the critical size in each geographic market, the quality of human resources and the pooling of expertise;

– Innovation strategy focused on the constant improvement of the S30net platform (annual investments of 1 to 2% of turnover) and on the training of technicians in new skills;

– Environmental strategy praised by the Ecovadis rating agency and presenting 2 components – offer of innovative services with lower environmental impact and involvement of suppliers and partners in the group’s CSR effort;

– Recurring revenues, drawn 63% from maintenance activities;

– Acceleration of the generation of free self-financing through the use of factoring;

– Confirmation of breakthroughs in mobility (electric vehicle charging stations), 5G networks and the maintenance of connected objects.

Challenges

– Sensitivity of turnover, for 45% of the total, to the first three customers – telecom and energy;

– Growth in new business mainly driven by the deployment of optical fibers in Europe and energy meters, such as Linky, in France;

– Impact of the pandemic: 14% increase in turnover at the end of June and 32% decline in net profit, affected by the Polish zloty exchange losses and the increase in depreciation;

– Response to the pandemic: adaptation of operating methods to protect the health of employees, continuity of services (most of the activities considered essential), effort on working capital;

– 2020 targets: confidence in the ability to generate profitable, double-digit revenue growth.

Jobs at risk

According to forecasts from the Professional Union of Digital Actors (Syntec Numérique), the decline in activity should reach 4.6% for the whole of 2020. However, the end of the year was more lenient for professionals . The situation has improved slightly since September, in terms of calls for tenders and the order book.

Technology consulting players will have suffered particularly in 2020, recording a 12.3% drop in their activity. They are, in fact, very present in two sectors particularly affected by the health crisis, civil aeronautics and the automobile. The risk of job cuts is greatest in technology consulting. Syntec Numérique assesses the positions in danger in this niche at 10,000.

Very cautious, professionals expect a rebound of 1% for the sector in 2021.

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