German mobile operator MobilCom AG has been forced to deny for the second time in as many days, that it will soon be filing for insolvency, and is refusing to state how much cash it has left.
The future of the Buedelsdorf, Germany-based operator continues to look precarious, as the bail-out organized by the German government falters due to disagreements with MobilCom’s founder and former CEO Gerhard Schmid, who remains at loggerheads over the transfer of his stake in the company to an outside trustee.
Schmid is thought to own 40%, while his wife holds 10%. However, according to recent reports, Schmid reduced his stake to 32% in June, selling his stake on the market after he was ousted as chief executive following a disagreement with France Telecom.
Schmid is refusing to give his consent to the German government’s choice of trustee, Reinhard Freiherr von Dalwigk, prefering his own man, Joachim Dreyer, the former head of Swisscom’s unit Debitel. A trustee is the major condition for a MobilCom rescue bid by shareholder France Telecom, which insists that it will only give its consent if Schmid has no further say in the company.
Meanwhile, the German securities regulator BAFin has launched an official investigation after discovering potential evidence of illegal dealings in MobilCom stock. It centers around potential share price manipulation in MobilCom stock relating to a falsified press report posted on a German financial web site. BAFin is also investigating insider trading, following suspicious trades that were executed just before the operator posted its full-year 2001 results.