Nigeria’s Tingo aims to complete merger with MICT, resume Nasdaq trading.

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Tingo Group, the Nigerian agri-tech which saw its market value on Nasdaq decimated after an attack by short-seller Hindenburg Research, aims to complete a planned merger with MICT and resume trading on the exchange, founder Dozy Mmobuosi tells The Africa Report.

Shares in Tingo are currently suspended from trading on Nasdaq. MICT, a financial technology business operating mainly in China, first agreed to merge with Tingo in May 2022. The companies revised their agreement in October 2022, saying they would create an operation with annual revenue of over $1bn, but the deal has yet to be completed.

Mmobuosi still aims to conclude the agreement and says that Nasdaq will have to decide whether to allow the merged entity to trade on the exchange. Doing so, he argues, would allow the creation of a listed company which can provide “credible food supply and distribution solutions in Africa. It’s not being done just to create a public company”.

Tingo describes itself as a global agri-fintech group of companies with operations in Africa, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. The controversy over the validity of its operations, and a stock market price collapse which erased market value of more than $1bn, is likely to make it harder for African agri-tech businesses to attract international investors.

Mmobuosi says there are cultural differences between the way Tingo was built in Africa and the expectations it must meet as a listed entity in the US. The company is “constantly working to strengthen internal controls and to be as transparent as it can be”, he says. “I will do everything to ensure this becomes a better business in terms of reporting and controls.”

Tingo said in its third-quarter results in November that it was working with Nigeria’s central bank to secure the foreign currency exchange for an initial dividend payment of $20m. There’s still no timeline yet for when dividends can start, but the company will “definitely pay dividends as soon as possible”, Mmobuosi says. “It’s our responsibility to make sure that shareholder value is maintained.”

Seeking new CEO

Hindenburg said in its June report that Tingo is “an exceptionally obvious scam with completely fabricated financials”, and doubled down on its claims in an update in August. In its research, Hindenburg discloses that it has a short position in Tingo, meaning that it stood to profit from the decline in the company’s share price. The shares traded as high as $5.45 in May, before slumping to $0.69 prior to suspension.

Tingo has denied Hindenburg’s claims. Mmobuosi declined to discuss the research, citing legal advice. The US Securities and Exchange Commission on 13 November ordered a suspension of trading in Tingo Group securities because of “concerns regarding the adequacy and accuracy of publicly available information” from the company.

The original suspension was to run until 28 November, and on 29 November Tingo received a request for more information from Nasdaq. The suspension will continue while Nasdaq reviews that information.

Mmobuosi is currently the company’s interim co-CEO, alongside Kenneth Denos. The company is looking for a new permanent CE0. Mmobuosi says he plans to remain as majority shareholder once that is done, though without an executive role.

 

Source: African Report

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