A US-based shareholder named Finsur Corp announced on Monday that it had exceeded 5% of the capital and voting rights of the French group Atos and is now causing confusion in the markets. Atos has indeed requested an investigation into the real identity of this new majority shareholder.
Thus, the identity of the person or persons behind this company remains a mystery and the management of Atos has thus requested the help of the financial markets authority because it suspects a risk of price manipulation. It should be remembered that Finsur, at the time of its declaration, sold some of its accumulated shares and thus fell back below the 5% threshold to 4.23% of the capital.
A representative of the group indicated that Atos had filed a complaint for price manipulation with the French financial prosecutor's office and raised doubts about the authenticity of the declaration of crossing the threshold with the AMF.
According to the information transmitted by BFM Business, which revealed this case, the company Finsur Corp was registered in 2019 as a foreign company with a share capital of20 million before being deregistered on 18 February 2020 by the registry of the Orléans Commercial Court and ceasing all activity on 9 January 2020.
Finsur's business involves taking an interest in various forms, either directly or indirectly, through the subscription or purchase of any securities, whether listed or unlisted, by means offinsur is also inactive in the United States of America, where it is active in the field of financial services, and in the United Kingdom, where it is active in the field of financial services. The company is also inactive in the US and has not even paid its registration fees since 2019. So one wonders how it was able to finance several hundred million euros of share purchases.
The Atos group, which does not have more precise information about this new shareholder declared is therefore in a weak position. Indeed, it is mandatory to declare to the AMF beyond 5% of participation but the organization does not control these declarations.
Finsur could therefore be a front for the company or a false declaration, which would put the French company listed on the CAC 40 at risk.
In addition, the Atos group has already shown signs of weakness since the beginning of the year with the fall of its share price, after the discovery of certain accounting errors in two of its entities in the United States and the reservations expressed by the auditors. The two subsidiaries concerned represent nearly 11% of the group's consolidated turnover.
Since then, the group has put in place a complete review of its balance sheets and will provide a more precise update on this subject on 28 July when it publishes its first half results. However, many shareholders have already rejected the company's consolidated accounts at the last AGM because of this announcement.