Decimal in Aviva deal

20/01/2014 - 15:49

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Financial planning technology group Decimal is embarking on a reverse takeover of listed cashbox Aviva Corporation in a $9 million deal.

Decimal in Aviva deal
Decimal's Michael Sertorio and Jan Kolbusz. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Financial planning technology group Decimal is embarking on a reverse takeover of listed cashbox Aviva Corporation in a deal valued at $9 million on a net assets basis or as much as $20 million on market capitalisation after the deal was announced. 

Decimal was started six years ago by former senior Sealcorp and Asgard executive Jan Kolbusz, who was joined soon after by former investment banker and financial services entrepreneur Michael Sertorio as a major backer.

If Aviva shareholders agree to the deal, Mr Kolbusz will be managing director of the merged entity and Mr Sertorio will become chairman.

After working with Asgard, Mr Kolbusz founded Stripe Capital, which later merged with Decimal’s adviser in this week’s deal, Blackswan Equities.

Aviva currently has around $23 million in cash and plans to return more than $11 million of that to existing shareholders as part of the restructuring.  

The merged entity, two-thirds held by Decimal shareholders, will have net asset of $13.4 million, valuing the Decimal stake at just less than $9 million. After the announcement Aviva's market capitalisation climbed to $41 million, valuing the Decimal players' share at about $20 million once a capital return to exisiting shareholders is factored in.

It is not known which members of the current Aviva board, including chair Ian Middlemas, plan to remain as directors, although it is understood at least one of the four is expected to stay.

Aviva is best known for its Coolimba coalmine and power station project near Perth, but it most recently ventured into Africa. Last year it sold its key asset, the Mmamantswe coal project in Botswana.

Mr Kolbusz told Business News Decimal believed it had unique technology that would be disruptive in the financial planning sector and was globally applicable.

He said the group was seeking a CEO and a sales and marketing executive for Sydney to lead the assault on the Australian market. Mr Kolbusz said the US market was also likely to be a major early target for the business.

Decimal believes it is the first company to offer a complete, end-to-end, cloud-based platform for the financial services industry. Its twin objective is to offer an administrative solution for professional financial planners as well as a more consumer-focused product that can be sold as a white label to large players in the sector that want to reach less sophisticated clientele.

Other major shareholders in Decimal are Ross Begley, the founder of mortgage broker Choice Aggregation Services, and Peter Nelson, a key player in the development of The Brand Agency.

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