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WANdisco shares lose over 96% of value on return to AIM trading

Scandal-hit Sheffield data firm WANdisco enjoyed a rocky return to trading on AIM yesterday – the company’s shares had lost over 96 per cent of their value by close of trading having been suspended since financial irregularities were found in the company’s books in March.

As recently as March 6, WANdisco and its co-founder and then-CEO David Richards were cheerily talking up the likelihood of a second listing on the NYSE.

Just 72-hours later the company suspended trading after the irregularities were found. Over the coming days and weeks, an independent investigation was launched, Richards and CFO Erik Miller stepped down, although the company emphasised the departures were not connected to the investigation, and it transpired that $15m of purchase orders and $115m of sales bookings were false, seemingly due to the actions of “one senior sales employee.”

The company has since laid off 30 per cent of its workforce and undertaken a £24m fundraise to shore up its finances and avoid a likely summer collapse.

That fundraise saw new shares issued at 50p each, although they had dropped below that value by lunchtime yesterday, falling as low as 46p by mid-afternoon before closing the day’s trading at 49p – an eye-watering -96.26 per cent descent from the £13.10 they were selling for immediately before trading was suspended in March.

Analysis in yesterday’s Evening Standard suggested that Richards had seen his personal fortune from WANdisco slip from £38m to just £920,000 over the course of the day, while his co-founder Yeturu Aahlad has seen his shares sink in value from £48 million to £1.2 million.

Shares had recovered slightly in early trading Tuesday, standing at 51.04p just after 9am, and as we approach close of trading they have notched over the 70p mark.

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