短贷公司Wonga无力支付索赔款,投资者注资千万填补资金链 - 互联网金融门户 未央网

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短贷公司Wonga无力支付索赔款,投资者注资千万填补资金链

如果你四年前曾参加过Disrupt London的活动,你可能还记得在一次投资者小组会议上,出现了一些尴尬。

面对提问,两家投资了欧洲发薪日贷款公司Wonga的风投公司拒绝评论其投资的这家公司在减记2.2亿英镑后到底出了什么问题。

昨天,还是这两家公司——Accel Partners和Balderton Capital,同意向Wonga公司再注入1000万英镑(约1300万美元),以帮助为与过去被指责的做法相关的索赔提供资金。

来自Crunchbase的信息显示,在最近一次紧急融资之前,Wonga总共筹集了大约1.455亿英镑的资金。其2011年的C轮融资得到了包括Accel、Oak Investment、Meritech Capital、83North在内的投资者支持;其2009年B轮融资的投资者包括Accel、Balderton、Dawn Capital、HV Holtzbrinck Ventures和83North。该公司于2006年在英国成立。

2014年,对向弱势客户收取短期贷款产品利率的担忧越来越大,导致监管部门采取干预措施来整肃这一行业,Wonga也同意核销33万客户的贷款。

此外,Wonga还在承认其自动检查未能充分评估可负担性后,同意免除另外4.5万客户的利息和费用。此前,Wonga曾吹捧为其核心知识产权的算法技术一直在借钱给那些没有收入偿还的人。

该公司还因向欠款客户发送虚假律师信函而受到金融行为管理局(FCA)的指责,并不得不支付另外260万英镑作为补偿。

四年后,Wonga仍在为其过去的行为买单——越来越多的个人索赔出现。

在向Sky News发布的一份声明中,Wonga集团发言人表示,由索赔管理公司主导的遗留贷款索赔“显著增加”。为此,正如文章开篇所说的,该团队从仍全力支持管理层业务计划的现有股东那里筹集了1000万英镑新资金。

其实,当其投资者这次同意向该业务注入更多资本时,Wonga正处于破产边缘。该公司首席执行官 Tara Kneafsey在5月底警告其机构股东,如果不注资,公司有破产的风险。

从2015年1月开始,FCA对所有高成本短期信贷设定的上线为0.8%。在其原始业务模型粉碎之后,Wonga在过去几年一直处于亏损状态,2016年亏损了6500万英镑。其最新的紧急融资估值仅为3000万美元(2300万英镑)。

对于一家公司来说,这是相当大的打击。2012年,该公司曾认为自己正走上一条三年增长的道路,估值将会达到150亿英镑,在这一背景下,他们提供了收取高达5853%年利率的短期贷款产品,卖给了成千上万无力偿还的人。

作为这一转变过程的一部分——即从算法高利贷转变为符合监管要求的短期贷款,Wonga的执行团队最近的努力目标是提供更灵活的贷款产品。

Wonga的董事会此前表示有信心建立一个可持续的业务,并指出该公司去年一直致力于恢复盈利能力,但尚未报告2017年的业绩。

据其消息来源称,Wonga的现金流状况变得非常紧张,董事会除了融资债券之外,还在评估出售其部分资产的情况。

去年,Wonga已经将其德国支付业务BillPay卖给了Klarna,融资了约6000万英镑。

If you were at Disrupt London four years ago you may remember more than a little awkwardness during an investor panel when two VCs that had invested in European payday loans firm Wonga declined to comment on what had gone wrong at their portfolio company in the wake of a £220M write down.

Yesterday Sky News reported that those same two, Accel Partners and Balderton Capital, are among a group of Wonga investors that have agreed to inject a further £10M (~$13M) into the business to help fund compensation claims related to its past censured practices.

We’ve reached out to Accel and Balderton for comment.

Prior to the latest emergency funding, Wonga  had raised a total of around £145.5M, according to Crunchbase. Its 2011 Series C round was backed by investors including Accel, Oak Investment, Meritech Capital, 83North; while a 2009 Series B included Accel, Balderton, Dawn Capital, HV Holtzbrinck Ventures and 83North. It was founded in the UK in 2006.

By 2014 rising concern about the rates of interest being charged to vulnerable customers on short term loan products led to a regulatory intervention to clean up the sector, and Wonga agreed to write off the loans of 330,000 customers.

It also agreed to waive the interest and fees for a further 45,000 after admitting its automated checks had failed to adequately assess affordability. The algorithmic technology it had touted as its core IP had been lending money to people who did not have the income to pay it back.

The company was also censured by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for sending fake lawyers’ letters to customers in arrears — and had to pay out a further £2.6M in compensation for that.

Four years later Wonga is still paying the bill for its past conduct — in the form of increasing numbers of individual compensation claims.

In a statement issued to Sky News, a Wonga Group spokesman said there has been a “marked increase” in compensation claims for legacy loans driven by claims management companies.

“Wonga continues to make progress against the transformation plan set out for the business. In recent months, however, the short-term credit industry has seen a marked increase in claims related to legacy loans, driven principally by claims management company activity,” the spokesman said.

“In line with this changing market environment, Wonga has seen a significant increase in claims related to loans taken out before the current management team joined the business in 2014. As a result, the team has raised £10M of new capital from existing shareholders, who remain fully supportive of management’s plans for the business.?”

According to Sky News, Wonga was on the brink of insolvency when its investors agreed to inject more capital into the business, with CEO Tara Kneafsey? warning its institutional shareholders in late May the company risked becoming insolvent without a capital injection.

Following the shredding of its original business model — with the FCA’s cap of 0.8 per cent per day for all high-cost short-term credit loans applying from January 2015 — Wonga has been loss making for the past several years, reporting a £65M loss for 2016 and just over £80M for 2015.

And Sky reports that its latest emergency fundraising took place at valuation of just $30M (£23M) for the business.

This represents a swingeing haircut for a company that, in 2012, had believed it was on a three-year growth path to a £15BN valuation, i.e. off the back of short term loan products that charged annual interests rates as high as 5,853% that were sold to hundreds of thousands of people who couldn’t afford to pay them back.

Wonga’s website now lists as “representative” an APR of 1,460% in an online FAQ — and further claims: “We’ve introduced lots of changes at Wonga to make sure we offer better, fairer loans to customers. We take a responsible approach and lend only to those we believe can reasonably afford to repay.”

As part of this process of ‘transformation’ — i.e. from algorithmic loan sharking to regulatory compliant short term lending — one recent focus for Wonga’s executive team to try to drum up ethical business has been on offering more flexible loan products.

Sky says Wonga’s board has previously expressed confidence it can build a sustainable business, and notes the company had been targeting a return to profitability last year but has yet to report its results for 2017.

According to its sources, Wonga’s cashflow situation has become so tight its board is evaluating the sale of some of its assets in addition to raising more debt.

Already last year wonga sold off its German payments business, BillPay, to Klarna — raising around £60M.


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