Tantalum open to Quindell takeover
Tantalum, a company owned by City financier Edi Truell, still wants to buy Quindell even though the Serious Fraud Office has launched a criminal investigation into the scandal-hit firm.
Chief executive of Truell’s telematics venture Tantalum, Cedriane de Boucaud, said revelations Quindell had overstated its results would not deter her. Tantalum supplies technology which allows firms to track their vehicles and is primarily interested in Quindell’s telematics operations in North America.
‘I would still be interested, but obviously we’d have to be in a position where any contingent liabilities would have to stay with the existing shareholders,’ she said. Earlier this month, Quindell’s new management announced it had slumped to a £64m pre-tax loss in 2013, instead of the £107m profit its previous bosses had reported.
The company also posted a £375m loss for last year. Within hours of the restatements, the SFO said it had started an investigation. The Financial Reporting Council is also examining the work of Quindell’s auditors and the Financial Conduct Authority is scrutinising the firm.
Quindell sold its legal division to Australian law firm Slater & Gordon in May for £637m. It emerged earlier this year that a Tantalum offer of £50m for the remainder of Quindell’s business had been rejected. Although Richard Rose, chairman of Quindell, again ruled out a sale earlier this month, Tantalum would still consider a deal.
‘If they came to us and said they would like to do something, then we could move fast,’ said the Tantalum boss. ‘The accountants have done all the digging and we’re now in a position where there’s a bit more clarity.’