Rivals express interest in assets of WorldSpreads

Wed, Mar 21, 2012, 00:00

SEVERAL PARTIES have expressed an interest in buying some of the assets of WorldSpreads Group, the Irishheadquartered financial spread-betting company which entered administration in Britain after finding holes in its accounts.

Accountancy firm KPMG said on Tuesday while there would be no actual sale of the business, which is in the process of being closed down, some of WorldSpreads’ software and data centre assets could be sold.

“We are receiving interest in and are talking to people about the residual assets, such as the software and data centre,” said KPMG partner Jane Moriarty.

KPMG is acting as WorldSpreads’ administrators.

Ms Moriarty declined to identify the companies interested in WorldSpreads’ assets, although British newspapers said rival spreadbetting firm ETX Capital was interested in WorldSpreads.

ETX Capital declined to comment on the situation.

Ms Moriarty added there would be no sale of WorldSpreads’ client list.

WorldSpreads suspended its shares last week after discovering possible “financial irregularities”.

It also said it owed clients millions of pounds.

WorldSpreads said its directors believed that, as of the close of business on March 16th, there was a shortfall of about £13 million pounds (€15.6 million) of client money. It added that gross amounts owed to clients were estimated at about £29.7 million, while the company had total cash balances of about £16.6 million.

Conor Foley, who is also WorldSpreads’ largest shareholder, stepped down as the company’s chief executive last Wednesday, two weeks after chief financial officer Niall O’Kelly submitted his resignation on the day the group issued a profit warning.

Mr Foley released a statement on Monday stating that his resignation was “completely unrelated” to the financial issues at the firm and he only learned of them on Friday, at the same time as the rest of the WorldSpreads board.

RTÉ reported last night that the City of London Police is to be asked by Britain’s financial services authority to investigate the financial irregularities at WorldSpreads. – (Reuters)