Investor Interest   Exclusive
TeleCanor’s private investor cries foul

Wealthy private investor Hemant Gupta alleges misuse of his funds by TeleCanor Global; the company on its part claims malicious propaganda is being spread by Mr Gupta to manipulate its stock price

‘Buy today’. This was the emphatic recommendation made by private investor Hemant Gupta with regard to Victory Projects Ltd (now renamed as TeleCanor Global Ltd) in February this year. He believed the company was on ‘the threshold of takeoff’ and that its scrip provided ‘huge upside’ potential, making a robust case for investing in the Hyderabad-based payment gateway service provider. Markets were in turmoil then, with shares trading at ridiculously low levels. Mr Gupta suggested buying the scrip immediately, even hinting that it may provide a phenomenal 50% return within a couple of weeks. Several months since then, Mr Gupta is now making an even stronger case for avoiding the company, making serious allegations of cheating against the promoter through a strongly worded article trying to expose the promoter’s alleged shenanigans.

In what appears to be another investor-promoter relationship turning sour, Hemant Gupta has accused the promoter, Maruti Ram, of conning him to increase stake in the company. He has accused Mr Ram of siphoning off his money for self-serving purposes. The company on its part claims that Mr Gupta has tried to manipulate the share price of the company by unleashing malicious propaganda. The company has said that it may also consider filing a defamation case against Mr Gupta. However, Mr Gupta has vehemently denied receiving any notice from the company regarding the same.

In his tell-all article in Informed Investor, Mr Gupta revealed that he had pumped funds into the company in 2008 when it barely had resources to make salary payments to its employees. “An investment banker introduced me to the promoter. That time, the company had no business and no money to pay even the salaries (of its employees). I liked the concept of payment gateway as it had good potential,” said Mr Gupta. However, more than a year has passed and the company has apparently made no headway in the payment gateway business.

Mr Gupta claims that the company Board had decided to issue 7.84 lakh equity shares and 12 lakh warrants in his favour, a resolution to which effect was passed on 22nd June 2009. He had made a payment of Rs1.26 crore towards the same. He now alleges that the company neither issued any shares and warrants nor refunded his money—it instead used the money for the company’s business.
As per SEBI guidelines, an investor is supposed to pay application money within 15 days of passing the resolution; however since the company needed funds urgently to fund its payment gateway business, Mr Gupta made initial payment towards the application much earlier than the stipulated period.

Mr Gupta has also alleged that the promoter has siphoned off Rs60.27 lakh by way of salary. The promoter’s wife, who is also the director of the company, has taken Rs47.92 lakh as office rent. He has also alleged that the company has used various tactics to increase its share price. The company apparently attempted to convert his 4.5 lakh warrants into equity shares, but was forced to cancel the same on Mr Gupta’s refusal.

Mr Gupta also mentions in his article that TeleCanor had called a Board meeting to declare interim dividend, despite having no bank balance to refund his money or any funds to kick-start the payment gateway project. The company’s only purpose, Mr Gupta said, was to jack up share prices by misleading the investors. The Board has since announced its decision to skip interim dividend ‘since it is prudent to complete the ongoing project before such a resolve’.

Mr Gupta’s shareholding in TeleCanor was at 3.98% as on September 2008 and declined to 3.34% as on March 2009. On March 2009 he offloaded 0.04% shares in the company and subsequently increased it to 5.96% on June 2009, according to data available on the BSE website. His current holding in the company is 1 million warrants and around 5% share bought from the secondary market.

Mr Gupta’s negative stance marks a distinct U-turn from the time he talked so highly about the company. His rationale at that time sounded almost irrefutable. Financial projections appeared rosy. His main points of contention were the enormous land value and huge potential of the proposed TeleCanor Suite. The suitable location of the company’s land, he had said, would add immense value as it had been declared a Petrochem Hub. As regards TeleCanor’s product, he had stated, “TeleCanor is a unique product which has huge potential. If the company is successful in marketing the same and grabs a few prestigious clients, it can get multi-bagger valuations.” 

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    9 years ago

    Kindly inform about the BALCO stake sale case that has gone against Vedanta.

    What could be the impact of this arbetrarial decision.

    ABN AMRO customers upset over their Osian Fund investment

    The Bank, which collected Rs30 crore from investors, is believed to have charged an entry load of Rs25,000 for every Rs10 lakh invested

    ABN AMRO Bank customers who had invested in the Osian Art Fund through the bank are now upset over the low returns and have accused the bank of not taking ownership of the entire process.  According to sources, the Bank garnered Rs30 crore from its customers for the art fund, which totally raised Rs100 crore.

    The 36-month close-ended scheme launched in July 2006 made a quiet exit with returns of 5% per annum. However, investors believe the actual returns could be lower at 3% to 4% per annum. As of July 2006, the fund’s total corpus was Rs102.40 crore and it had 656 unit-holders across 39 cities.
    According to investors, the bank had charged an entry load of Rs25,000 for each Rs10 lakh invested in the fund, thus netting Rs75 lakh from the total collection of around Rs30crore from its customers.
    The bank had reportedly assured investors that it is was a ‘safe investment’. But three years later, investors are disappointed with the poor returns of 5% per annum and a delay in the redemption of the fund.
    An investor who did not wish to be identified said, “Three years back, the bank had advised us to invest in the art fund. ABN AMRO assured everybody that it is a safe investment. We were told that Osian is quite reputed and there is nothing to worry about the money. The investment process and the refund will be done in a very transparent manner.”
    Investors say they are still uncertain about the exact redemption date. As per the fund’s prospectus, the fund distribution was to commence from 10 July 2009 and redemption of the fund had to be completed by 10 November 2009.
    However, some investors claim that the redemption process has not been completed till date. “Last week I was told the money will be transferred through electronic transfer by Saturday. It has not been done as yet. The excuse is always that the audit is being done, the audit has been delayed,” said one investor. “I was told the cheques would be dispatched in three to four days last week, (but) I have not received it yet,” claimed another investor.
    Investors are also upset with the bank’s ‘attitude’ towards this issue. “Once the investment was made from our side, we realised that things are not so good, the communication from the bank is not proper. I started noticing that ABN AMRO is not taking ownership of the whole process. There is no proactive communication from the bank’s end, it is always reactive and that too, after the investor has waited for a very long time.  Each time we were told by the bank’s relationship manager that the issue has been the resolved. The money would be given in three to four days’ time,” said an investor.  
    A spokesperson for ABN AMRO Bank told Moneylife via email, “In keeping with our philosophy of providing a range of investment options to our clients suitable to their risk appetite and personal goals, we present various funds across different asset classes. The Bank however weighs investment options extremely cautiously and puts in safeguards and processes in place to ensure that clients take an informed decision when choosing to invest in any fund. At every step, our endeavour is to keep our clients briefed and updated on market-related information and fund performance. In view of client confidentiality, we would not like to comment on Client and Fund portfolios.”
     –  Amritha Pillay [email protected]
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    Sharat Jain

    7 years ago

    We have also not received the redemption proceeds from Osian's Art Fund. We have written on many forums, but till date no action has been taken against this scheme. It is very hard to digest that this type of schemens are first floated under the nose of our Govt., and then when the company is unable to pay back (for the reasons best known to them), they try to delay the matter for years & years on one pretext or the other. Sharat Jain. New Delhi.

    Pankaj Butalia

    9 years ago

    RBS/ABN is lying. They advised me this was a great fund ... with no risks.
    In fact relationship Managers of the bank were seen advising the mother of one of their own employees to invest in stocks when the sensex was at 21000. They're great con men ... don't look at anyone's risk profile - just use the access they have to how much money you have in your account and land up at your house to pressure you into investing. That's how my Osian happened in 2006 ! I'm willing to go public on this.

    Wall Street’s big banks worse than Enron: Nomi Prins


    Nomi Prins fears that while Washington ponders what to do, or not do, about reforming Wall Street, the nation’s biggest banks, plumped up on government capital and risk-infused trading profits, have been moving stuff around their balance sheets like a multi-billion dollar musical chairs game.
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