Grenke has to put up with criticism from the special auditors – shares initially strongly in positive territory, then under pressure

After a few turbulent weeks with revelations and allegations by Viceroy Research against Grenke, the company from Baden-Baden had recently become much quieter. But some of the Viceroy allegations have not yet been cleared up, especially with regard to the activities in the franchise business of the leasing division. Here the company and its founder, major shareholder and long-time CEO Wolfgang Grenke, were accused of taking advantage at the expense of the shareholders.

Results of an investigation by the auditing firm Warth & Klein Grant Thornton (WKGT), which was specially commissioned by the company, can make the allegations – we have reported in detail over the past few months – now partially debilitate, like one Notice published today by Grenke shows. WKGT came to the final conclusion that “the 17 franchise acquisitions to date can be described as positive for GRENKE AG,” it says. Grenke continues: “In summary, according to the WKGT, the returns on the franchise takeovers considered by the auditing company are within the scope of expected results that justify an investment in participations”.

However, in addition to various results that relieve the group, there are also unsightly abnormalities. The examiners in the franchise area noticed deviations from the originally agreed basic valuation method in the amount of 15.1 million euros that increased the purchase price. With 9.2 million euros, a Portugal deal makes up the lion’s share. Grenke justified this with the strategic considerations made at the time and plans to expand to Brazil – whether that was plausible remains to be seen. WGKT describes the deviations as not insignificant, but at the same time they should lie within the scope of the usual uncertainty in the evaluation of companies in an early development phase, as the company reports. In addition, the group deviated from the usual M&A practices in individual transactions.


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