Wirecard administrator says there is strong interest for its assets

Wirecard's administrator Michael Jaffe said payouts to merchants and customers of Wirecard are being executed without restrictions. PHOTO: REUTERS

FRANKFURT (BLOOMBERG) - The assets of collapsed German payment provider Wirecard are attracting interest from "numerous" global investors and a sale process involving investment banks is on the way, the company's preliminary insolvency administrator said.

"A large number of investors from all over the world have already contacted us, who are interested in acquiring the core business or the independent business units that operate successfully on the market," Michael Jaffe, the lawyer appointed to handle the insolvency, said in a statement late on Tuesday (June 30).

Wirecard filed for protection from creditors last week after investigations revealed that 1.9 billion euros (S$3 billion) previously reported as cash was missing from its accounts and probably never existed. Markus Braun, who resigned as chief executive officer as the scandal unfolded, was arrested last Monday before being granted bail the following day.

The company will carry out a structured transaction process involving investment banks specialized in various areas, according to the statement. An analysis of the causes of the crisis and verification of payment flows is also taking place.

Worldline, a French payments company, is among parties interested in buying parts of Wirecard, German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported last week. The German group's North American unit is seeking to be acquired, with an investment bank coordinating the sale process.

It can't be ruled out that insolvency applications for Wirecard subsidiaries have to be filed, the preliminary administrator said. Mr Jaffe is in discussions with customers, trading partners and credit card organizations.

The group's Wirecard Bank unit remains solvent, and payouts to merchants and customers are being executed without restrictions, the statement said.

Meanwhile, Wirecard's entities in Singapore have informed the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) that they are assessing their ability to continue providing services, MAS said on Tuesday. Wirecard's main business activities in Singapore are to process Visa and Mastercard payments for merchants and help companies issue pre-paid cards.

In the UK, Visa had temporarily suspended transactions processed by Wirecard Card Solutions after the country's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) took regulatory action on June 26 against that Wirecard entity. The suspension did not impact Visa accounts issued through other Wirecard entities.

Visa told The Straits Times on Wednesday that it resumed authorising payments for Wirecard Card Solutions on June 30 after the FCA revised its actions.

Its spokesman said that in the Asia Pacific, Visa will continue to work closely with local regulators to monitor developments and assess new information as it becomes available about local Wirecard subsidiaries with the intent to work out a solution for all parties.

"Our priority is, and will always be, maintaining the integrity of the Visa payment systems and protecting the interests of consumers, merchants and our clients," the spokesman said.

With additional information from The Straits Times

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