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February 6, 2013 10:18 am
Imtech, the Dutch infrastructure company whose stock plunged this week on suspected irregularities at its Polish branch, announced the executives responsible for its German and Polish operations have left the company.
The company’s stock fell 48 per cent on Monday when it announced a €100m writedown on a theme park and energy projects in Poland, saying the investors had failed to make payments and appeared to have no financing.
In a terse seven-sentence press release on Tuesday evening that did not include the names of the departing executives, Imtech said the chief executive and chief financial officer of the German division were “stepping down because of problems at Imtech in Poland”. The activities in Poland were undertaken by the company’s German division.
The departing German chief executive, Klaus Betz, will be temporarily replaced by Imtech’s director of human resources, Jos Graauwmans. Jan van Middelkoop, chief finance officer of the Dutch parent company, will step in for the exiting Axel Glass.
The exits have fuelled worries by investors and analysts that the problems in the company’s German division, its fastest-growing, were not limited to the projects in Poland. Several hedge funds have charged that the company’s German division was booking orders as revenues which it has subsequently had difficulty collecting.
“We welcome the fact that Imtech is taking serious steps to clean ship but also wonder whether the problem in Poland was really isolated,” Edwin de Jong, of SNS Securities, wrote in a note.
Imtech announced on Monday that the investor behind the Polish projects, worth a total of €757m, had failed to make payments on €77m of work the company had already completed.
Analysts said they were most concerned that Imtech had accepted a €200m promissory note from the investor and listed it as cash in its accounting records.
Teun Teeuwisse, an analyst at ABN Amro who wrote a prophetic critical report on Imtech in November, said he considered the company still overvalued even after its share price dropped by half.
“We have to wait and see how many more projects Imtech has been working on where either invoices were not paid, or where they have not even invoiced the work and it turns out they will never be paid,” Mr Teeuwisse said.
Imtech shares were down 6 per cent at 10.32 in morning trading on the Amsterdam exchange, against a 0.1 per cent rise in the AEX index.
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