Statement from AURELIUS Equity Opportunities SE & Co. KGaA in response to Ontake’s allegations


Statement from AURELIUS Equity Opportunities SE & Co. KGaA in response to Ontake’s allegations

Grünwald, 3 February 2020

A.     Preamble

A paper published today, will demonstrate that the accusations made by Ontake Research (“Ontake”) in its report (“Ontake Report”) published on 30 January 2020 are substantially incorrect and are deliberately designed by Ontake to maliciously mislead its readers and investors accordingly. At the time of the Ontake Report’s publication, Ontake held a short position in AURELIUS Equity Opportunities SE & Co. KGaA (“AEO”). It is therefore obvious that Ontake had a vested interest in damaging the reputation of AEO in order to depress its share price and make significant speculative gains to the detriment of all shareholders.

B.      Executive Summary

The Ontake Report lists a number of accusations based on a collection of false, misleading and fabricated allegations designed to manipulate the AURELIUS share price. The report was published on a newly registered, anonymous homepage and shows no signs of origin nor of an author. The anonymous author(s) call themselves “Ontake”, a pseudonym allowing them to issue highly manipulative statements without public accountability.

The author’s intention is to construe a very different, negative and untrue reality of AURELIUS and thus to manipulate our share price. They do so by using misleading or outright false statements, comparing apples and oranges, and even counterfeiting AURELIUS charts to create a fake depiction of AURELIUS that could not be further from the truth.

We summarize our specific responses to Ontake’s assertions as follows:

  • The purchase prices published by AURELIUS are not overstated. With Secop, Ontake simply “forgot” to include the purchase price for the shareholder loans. With Getronics, Ontake tried to discredit the purchaser’s ability to pay the purchase price by overlooking the fact that the purchaser was backed by three of the world’s most financially strong and reputable financiers, White Oak Global Advisors, Permira PDM and H.I.G. WhiteHorse. For Solidus, Ontake pretended to derive the total purchase price from different cash streams but again did fail to show the full picture.
  • AURELIUS’ published portfolio NAV is correct and audited annually by KPMG.
  • Also, AEO is not “burning” 36m EUR per year. In fact, the amount of annual holding cost not covered by portfolio company management fees amounts to less than 5m EUR per year.
  • Finally, Ontake values AURELIUS at EUR 0,04 per share, a ridiculously little target price for a company that generated over 200m EUR in consolidated EBITDA last year, has returned more than EUR 489m in dividends to its shareholders over the last 5 years and holds more than EUR 400m in cash on its group balance sheet.

C.     Corrective Statement

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