Pubblicato in: Criminalità Organizzata, Finanza e Sistema Bancario, Unione Europea

Lars Windhorst & Sapinda. La finanza tedesca che affonda.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2016-12-08.

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Ad Essen la Merkel ha parlato di immigrati e gender, come se fossero questi i problemi della Germania. Solo satana sa cosa si siano detti nei corridoi e quali accordi abbiano stipulato con l’intento di tradirli alla prima occasione. Questo è uno dei possibili argomenti.



«In December 2007, shortly after Christmas, Windhorst was severely injured during a plane crash in Kazakhstan. One of the pilots died when the Bombardier Challenger 604 hit a wall and exploded after leaving the runway in Almaty. ….

While aged 14, Windhorst, the son of a local stationery store owner, turned the family garage in his hometown of Rahden, into a makeshift computer lab. He mobilised his classmates to help him build PCs, which he later sold in his father’s shop, while seeking suppliers of individual components in China.»

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«In 1993 while still at school he established his first company. He was helped in administering its operations by his parents, given he was underage, such as by signing contracts on his behalf and driving him to work. Windhorst became well known as one of the most successful young entrepreneurs in Germany.»

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«Being termed the “Wunderkind” and Germany’s Bill Gates, he was invited to join the former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl on a trip to Asia as part of the official government delegation. It was on this trip that Windhorst developed international business contacts, being the youngest participant in the World Economic Forum in Davos. »

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«Windhorst, a high-school dropout, stood trial on 35 charges of fraud, embezzlement and breach of trust in Dec. 2009, the Telegraph newspaper reported. Prosecutors agreed to drop the fraud charges if he paid a 1 million-euro fine, repaid 2.5 million euros to his alleged victim and admitted a breach of trust offence, for which he was given a one-year suspended prison sentence, the newspaper reported»

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«He became a symbol of entrepreneurship when Chancellor Helmut Kohl took him along on an official trip to Asia in 1995. The prodigy phase of his career ended when the dot-com bubble burst. By the age of 27 he’d filed for personal bankruptcy.»

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«Lars Windhorst may have lost his magic touch forever»

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«The deal with Abu Dhabi Capital would have guaranteed Sapinda Invest’s debt and injected equity to acquire ownership of half the vehicle. Abu Dhabi Capital also had an option to buy 10 percent of Sapinda Holding, majority-owned by Windhorst, which expires at the end of the year. That won’t be exercised, it said in its Nov. 29 statement.»

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Negli ultimi decenni si è assistito alla generazione di finanzieri d’assalto che hanno costituito ricchezze immani fondandosi sui rapporti politici.

Nulla di illegale: solo che la politica è ancora più infida di una moglie fedifraga.

Una sola constatazione.

In molti paesi del mondo chi faccia bancarotta finisce in galera ed ivi permane per cica una ventina di anni. Questo non è il caso della Germania attuale, né, ovviamente, quello di Herr Lars Windhorst.

 


Lars Windhorst & Sapinda.

«Lars Windhorst (born November 22, 1976) is a German entrepreneur and co-founder of Sapinda Group. In 2015, he was ranked in the Sunday Times Rich List, with his net worth reportes as being £320 million. He notably founded businesses in his teens, filing for bankruptcy in 2003 as a result of the Dot-com bubble. The following year, Windhorst co-founded the Sapinda Group. Following restructuring, Sapinda Holding BV, founded in 2009, is the group’s parent company. Windhorst is its Non-Executive Chairman.

In December 2007, shortly after Christmas, Windhorst was severely injured during a plane crash in Kazakhstan. One of the pilots died when the Bombardier Challenger 604 hit a wall and exploded after leaving the runway in Almaty. ….

While aged 14, Windhorst, the son of a local stationery store owner, turned the family garage in his hometown of Rahden, into a makeshift computer lab. He mobilised his classmates to help him build PCs, which he later sold in his father’s shop, while seeking suppliers of individual components in China.

In 1993 while still at school he established his first company. He was helped in administering its operations by his parents, given he was underage, such as by signing contracts on his behalf and driving him to work. Windhorst became well known as one of the most successful young entrepreneurs in Germany. Being termed the “Wunderkind” and Germany’s Bill Gates, he was invited to join the former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl on a trip to Asia as part of the official government delegation. It was on this trip that Windhorst developed international business contacts, being the youngest participant in the World Economic Forum in Davos. ….

In 2004 Lars Windhorst became co-founder of the Sapinda investment group, which coordinates financing with its affiliate, Anoa Capital, to provide funding to public, private and start-up companies. In approximately five years Sapinda processed investments to the value of more than €2 billion. During the global financial crisis the Group, and its German company Vatas Holding GmbH in particular, sustained considerable losses. As a result of the global financial crisis in 2008, during the latter half of the year the company started restructuring talks; in January 2009 the partners had to file for bankruptcy for the German subsidiary Vatas.

In April 2009 all business activities were restructured and the new parent company for the group became Sapinda Holding BV, founded that same year in Amsterdam. The Group now has offices in several countries and employs a team of more than 80 employees worldwide. Sapinda Holding BV combines investments in agriculture and food processing with mining/raw materials, oil and gas extraction and production, in both public and private companies. It also holds stakes in the media, technology and real estate sectors.

Together with Carl Heinrich Bruhn, Lars Windhorst set up Amatheon Agri to give Sapinda Holding BV exposure to the African agricultural sector, according to German news magazine Der Spiegel. In an interview, Windhorst stated the Sapinda business organised investments amounting to around €3.5 billion between 2009 and 2012, including loans for companies like Air Berlin and Infineon. Sapinda’s partners include management consultant Roland Berger, its advisory board being managed by Hubertus von Grünberg, who is also Chairman of Swiss corporation ABB Ltd»

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Sapinda.

«Sapinda is a global investment group formed in 2009 by a select number of entrepreneurs and prominent High-net-worth families seeking exposure to investment opportunities in special situations across continental Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.

The Sapinda management team is made up of a hand-picked group of individuals from around the world, including entrepreneurs, debt and equity financial industry professionals, each with a broad range of industry experience and international contacts.

Together with a senior-level advisory board, the Group’s international network of relationships enables Sapinda to provide bespoke investment solutions for a range of transactions and investments.

A core advantage is the nature of Sapinda’s shareholder structure and corporate governance. The management team is committed to its growth and has a controlling equity stake, supported by a prominent advisory board and its shareholders. This gives Sapinda flexibility and the ability to act quickly to invest in a range of prospects, from straightforward opportunities to complicated situations.»

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Bloomberg. 2016-04-11. Windhorst’s Sapinda Pays Interest on Bond Six Weeks Late

–    50 million-euro coupon due on June 30 was paid on Aug. 11

–    Bond terms give issuer flexibility on repayment timing

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Lars Windhorst’s Sapinda Invest SARL paid interest on its 1-billion-euro bond ($1.1 billion) six weeks after the due date.

The 50 million-euro coupon, which was due on June 30, was paid to investors on August 11, according to Olivier Schoppach, a spokesman for BNP Paribas Securities Services, the bond’s paying agent. Dirk van Daele, head of the investment committee of Sapinda Invest, declined to comment on the reason for the late payment.

Sapinda Invest’s bond, which pays a 5 percent annual coupon and offers a 75 percent participation in profit, doesn’t include provisions for default and doesn’t have a grace period if an interest payment is missed, according to the offering memorandum. The firm is obliged to pay back the principal at market prices when a coupon is missed only if creditors ask for repayment, which didn’t happen, Van Daele said in an interview in London.

“Sapinda’s bond is not your typical high-yield instrument and our large backers know it’s an alternative investment instrument by its nature,” said Van Daele. “The bond gives them the possibility to participate in Lars’s investments. The bond allows us to remain flexible in our decisions.”

Wealthy Investors.

The proceeds of the five-year securities that were sold mainly to wealthy investors starting in 2014 provided investment capital for the 39-year-old German businessman, who became famous in the nineties as a teenage entrepreneur. Sapinda Invest would be in breach of bond terms if Windhorst ceased to be chairman of the board or stopped playing an “active and leading role” in the firm, according to the bond offering memorandum.

The approach attracted early buyers including Italian insurer Assicurazioni Generali SpA, according to two people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because it’s private. Generali held 35 million euros of the notes, according to the firm’s latest filing in April. Documents used to market the bonds by a brokerage firm in 2014 said backers included billionaires Len Blavatnik, owner of Warner Music Group, and Israeli ship-owner Eyal Ofer.

Representatives for Generali and Blavatnik declined to comment on any investments. A representative for Ofer was unavailable for comment on whether Ofer holds the notes.

Windhorst, a high-school dropout, stood trial on 35 charges of fraud, embezzlement and breach of trust in Dec. 2009, the Telegraph newspaper reported. Prosecutors agreed to drop the fraud charges if he paid a 1 million-euro fine, repaid 2.5 million euros to his alleged victim and admitted a breach of trust offence, for which he was given a one-year suspended prison sentence, the newspaper reported.»

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Bloomberg. 2016-11-30. German Wunderkind Turns to Plan B After Abu Dhabi Investors Walk

–    Windhorst says he has 200 million euros lined up for Sapinda

 –   Abu Dhabi Capital ends six months of talks on support

Lars Windhorst made and lost a fortune before his 30th birthday. By the time he was 32, one of his companies faced another insolvency. The one-time German wunderkind has been fighting to avoid a third strike.

Abu Dhabi Capital ended more than six months of talks to provide a 1 billion-euro ($1.1 billion) bond guarantee and an equity injection for Windhorst’s main vehicle, Sapinda Invest, according to a statement to Bloomberg from the private investment fund, which is majority-owned by Sheikh Sultan Bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, the eldest son of the U.A.E.’s president. Within hours of that announcement, Windhorst said he separately arranged a 200 million-euro financing package from existing stakeholders.

For the 40-year-old Windhorst, the crunch represents a bump in the road to becoming an investing giant — he cites Blackstone and KKR as his models. His detractors see broken promises. The story of Windhorst’s latest struggles resulted from reviews of documents filed in court, Sapinda’s internal documents and interviews with at least a dozen people familiar with his businesses.

“Despite some short-term challenges, I have confidence in the long-term success of the business and look forward to building more opportunities in 2017,” Windhorst said in a Nov. 29 statement to Bloomberg.

The challenges are financial and legal: Two of his early investors, billionaire Len Blavatnik and Italian entrepreneur Silvio Scaglia, sued him in London in separate lawsuits this year seeking as much as 86 million euros in total. Outside court, his companies have had cash issues. His main vehicle, Sapinda Invest, was six weeks late paying interest on its 1 billion euros of notes due in June, while Sequa Petroleum NV, one of his holdings, told bondholders in November that interest would be delayed because it hadn’t received enough funds from Sapinda Invest and another Sapinda-related company.

Windhorst assesses the situation from a sixth-floor Savile Row suite, where one wall of the office dining room is lined with fine wines on climate-controlled shelves. Speaking before the Abu Dhabi Capital financing fell through, he said he just needed time to fix the problems at some of the businesses in which he’s invested. His group sustains at least eight companies, with interests as diverse as film distribution in Europe and farming in Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Until the summer, home was London’s One Hyde Park, an enclave where neighbors include oil billionaires. He has thrown his Christmas parties in the majestic hall of the Natural History Museum under a cast of a Diplodocus skeleton that arrived in London in 1905.

Not too shabby for the son of a stationer who started trading computer parts in his father’s garage at the age of 14 in Rahden, Germany, a town three hours south of Hamburg. Three years later, he was running a business with almost a hundred employees and had halted his formal education.

Bubble Burst.

He became a symbol of entrepreneurship when Chancellor Helmut Kohl took him along on an official trip to Asia in 1995. The prodigy phase of his career ended when the dot-com bubble burst. By the age of 27 he’d filed for personal bankruptcy.

“I worked like crazy, calling or visiting former business partners to find out if they still wanted to work with me,” Windhorst said in a interview with the Suddeutsche Zeitung in 2010, recalling the years after the filing. He cited the backing of Robert Hersov, the heir of South Africa’s AngloVaal mining empire, as instrumental to his recovery.

The hurdles he faced were not just professional. On Christmas day 2007, the private jet in which he was flying between Hanover and Hong Kong hit a wall while taking off after a stopover in Almaty, in southeastern Kazakhstan. Bruised and with a damaged ear, he awoke to discover one of the pilots was dead.

His Berlin-based investment firm Vatas Holding GmbH started struggling during the global financial crisis. It filed for insolvency in January 2009.

Magic Touch.

“Lars Windhorst may have lost his magic touch forever,” the German newspaper Die Welt wrote at the time.

He reorganized his businesses around Sapinda and emerged anew. As real-estate prices recovered from the crisis, his investments in the developer Grand City Properties SA gained. Windhorst sold his last shares in the company this year, according to Sapinda Invest documents seen by Bloomberg.

After moving to the U.K. he befriended Peter Mandelson, a former Labour minister and European commissioner, who joined Sapinda’s advisory board. Now a member of the House of Lords, Mandelson left the board in September, according to the register of Lords’ interests on the U.K. government website. Mandelson confirmed via e-mail that he’s no longer a board member.

Windhorst won investments from billionaires including Blavatnik as well as Eyal Ofer, Israel’s richest man, and Roland Berger, the founder of the eponymous advisory firm, according to people familiar with the matter. Institutional money managers including BlueBay, Fidelity and Assicurazioni Generali SpA invested in his new ventures or bought bonds used to finance Sapinda’s expansion and its companies, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Lawsuits aside, those who have stuck with him seem more bemused than bitter. When asked by Bloomberg a few months ago, a Sapinda Invest bondholder was phlegmatic about the late interest payment.

He may pay late, but he always pays, said the investor, who asked not to be identified discussing a private matter.

Payback

As Windhorst did after his bankruptcy in 2003. He reimbursed his earliest investors even though there was no obligation to do so, according to people familiar with the matter.

Looking back at his first ventures, he told the Suddeutsche Zeitung he rued his failure to delegate. “We had no stable structures,” he said. “I made all the decisions, everyone was looking up to me.”

That management style may have persisted.

Wahid Chammas, a managing director at Janus Capital Group Inc. hired by Windhorst as chief investment officer in February 2016, left in March because of a divergence on how to improve the management and the funding of his companies, according to a separate person familiar with the matter. Chammas declined to comment on his departure, which he discussed on his LinkedIn page.

That served as a prelude to this year’s troubles. After selling a 10 percent stake in Sapinda in 2015, Scaglia’s fund, Pacific Capital, sued Windhorst in March claiming he reneged on the promise to buy back 26 million euros in bonds. A London judge issued a default judgment in favor of Pacific Capital on Sept. 6.

Blavatnik’s AI International Holdings, a unit of his Access Industries, filed suit against Windhorst in July. The claim was that he failed to make good on a promise to buy back 60 million euros of Sapinda’s bonds that AI had bought in February to provide short-term financing, according to court documents. Windhorst said that Abu Dhabi Capital would support Sapinda Invest and would buy bonds in the company, allowing him to meet his obligations, according to e-mails submitted to the court.

“If within 48 hours Abu Dhabi Capital has not booked the trade through a reputable broker or bank with Merrill Lynch we consider it failed and draw a line in the sand,” Windhorst promised in an e-mail to Lincoln Benet, CEO of Access Industries, on June 15. “I take responsibility.”

The transfer to Blavatnik was never made, and he took the matter to court. On Oct. 28, Windhorst admitted liability to a judge. A hearing will be held in 2017 to assess damages.

Declines in oil and commodity prices have contributed to the squeeze. In the past 12 months, more than 1 billion euros has been wiped off the value of the listed companies that Sapinda is invested in. The market value of Sapinda Invest bonds and those of other companies in the group have also dropped, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The deal with Abu Dhabi Capital would have guaranteed Sapinda Invest’s debt and injected equity to acquire ownership of half the vehicle. Abu Dhabi Capital also had an option to buy 10 percent of Sapinda Holding, majority-owned by Windhorst, which expires at the end of the year. That won’t be exercised, it said in its Nov. 29 statement.

“Abu Dhabi Capital does not currently own any shares in Sapinda Invest or Sapinda Holding,” it said in the statement. “In the past year, Abu Dhabi Capital has purchased bonds issued by Sapinda and some of its companies. All these bonds have been sold and currently Abu Dhabi Capital does not own any.”

The new 200 million-euro financing will be provided by existing stakeholders in equity and loans to Sapinda Holding “to support the successful development of the various group portfolio companies,” Windhorst said in his statement.

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