Private equity firm Aurelius nearly quintuples earnings as it brushes off accusations from hedge fund Gotham

 
Lucy White
FILES - Picture taken 09 December 2003 s
Aurelius's share price was creeping up in morning trading (Source: Getty)

Private equity firm Aurelius, whose investments include Office Depot and shoe group Scholl, has released a blowout set of results this morning as it predicts 2017 will be a new record year.

The firm, which focuses on turning around struggling or undervalued companies, saw its earnings before deductions shoot up 371 per cent year-on-year to €575.1m and its revenues rocket 46 per cent to €3.13bn.

The news comes as a welcome pick-me-up for Munich-listed Aurelius, whose share price was almost halved earlier this year as short-selling hedge fund Gotham City Research alleged accounting irregularities and questioned the existence of the firm's chief financial officer and Swedish subsidiaries. Aurelius denied all the allegations and threatened legal action.

City A.M. can also reveal that Aurelius has made a number of appointments to its UK team today. Andrew Roth joins as an investment associate from Deloitte, PwC's Zach Holmes will sit in the operational taskforce and former Ropes & Gray lawyer Jonathan Yong will take the position of senior legal counsel.

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“With five purchases and three company sales so far, we have already been very successful in 2017. We expect more transactions before the end of the year,” said the firm's chairman Dirk Markus.

We intend for our shareholders to again enjoy above-average participation in this success – and not only in the form of attractive dividends.

“We have already distributed more than €230m to our shareholders in 2017 in the form of dividends and share buybacks. An additional share buyback program with a volume of €40m was kicked off in mid-October.”

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Over the third quarter, Aurelius announced two record sales – of German components manufacturer Secop and Dutch IT services group Getronics. Both returned double digit multiples on invested capital.

The firm's share price was up 2.19 per cent to €52.30 at midday, but was still significantly off the pre-Gotham peak of €66.95.

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