Wednesday, 22 October 2014 05:10

Mint Wireless sacks CEO, share trading halted Featured

MInt founder Alex Teoh MInt founder Alex Teoh

Wireless payments operator Mint Wireless is trying to hide the bad news, but it’s getting increasingly difficult.

Last week Mint Wireless’s shares were suspended from trading on the ASX. Now it has announced that CEO Robin Khuda is being shown the door. “The board believes a different skill set is required at the CEO level.”

Khuda was appointed CEO only in May. Obviously it hasn’t worked out. He seemed well qualified – he was one of the founders of data centre operator NextDC, and its CFO and deputy CEO. But chairman and founder Alex Teoh wants to run things his way – he has returned as interim CEO until a replacement can be found.

The company has announced a major review of its operations, of “the current governance structures, in particular the right balance between board and management, the alignment of customer and product activities, and the best approach to ensuring success with geographical and functional growth plans,” it said in a statement to the ASX.

It is not the first time Mint has changed direction. It has redefined itself a few times since listing on the ASX in 2007. Its shares were placed in a trading halt last week after the ASX asked it why its shares had declined sharply recently. It said it expected the trading halt to be lifted on Monday (20 October), but that did not happen.

Mint Wireless couched its most recent statement to the ASX in positive terms, hiding the news of Khuda’s departure towards the bottom of the last page. It accentuated the positive news that the Australian Payments Clearing Association (APCA) has certified Mint’s mPOS solution for EFTPOS transactions using Remote Key Injection (RKI), and that it was the first to achieve RKI certification for mPOS in Australia.

But such announcements are not revenue. Mint has deals with accounting software vendor MYOB and with a number of banks for the use of its mobile payments system, but it is burning cash at an alarming rate. It said in its statement to the ASX that it has $9.5 million in available funds to “ensure a strong financial position for future growth plans.”

Mint lost $4.2 million last year, on revenues of just $2.2 million. It completed a $10 million share placement in May 2014, which has given it its current cash reserves, but it is still talking in terms of an “early stage rollout” for its products.

It seems the market is losing patience. Before trading in the company’s shares were halted, the price had declined from 27 cents to 8 cents in just three months, wiping off more than two thirds of its value.

Little wonder a “strategic review” is under way.

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Graeme Philipson sadly passed away in Jan 2021 and a much valued senior associate editor at iTWire. He was one of Australia’s longest serving and most experienced IT journalists. He is the author of the only definitive history of the Australian IT industry, ‘A Vision Splendid: The History of Australian Computing.’He was in the high tech industry for more than 30 years, most of that time as a market researcher, analyst and journalist. He was founding editor of MIS magazine, and is a former editor of Computerworld Australia. He was a research director for Gartner Asia Pacific and research manager for the Yankee Group Australia. He was a long time weekly IT columnist in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and is a recipient of the Kester Award for lifetime achievement in IT journalism. Graeme will be sadly missed by the iTWire Family, Readers, Customers and PR firms.

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