Trade finance platform Triterras is seeking to overturn Nasdaq’s decision to delist its securities from the US stock exchange, which was taken after the company repeatedly failed to file audited annual accounts.
The New York-based exchange had informed Triterras on December 10 that trading of its shares would be suspended within 15 days, and that its securities would be removed from registration on Nasdaq. The company has appealed that decision and is due to appear before Nasdaq’s hearing panel on January 20.
The Singapore-headquartered fintech, which operates blockchain-based trade finance platform Kratos, was initially due to file annual results in June, for the year ending February 2021. However, it was unable to do so following the resignation of KPMG from its role as independent auditor in January last year.
Though Triterras appointed a new auditor in June – Singapore-based Nexia TS – and was granted successive deadline extensions by Nasdaq, the company has still not filed those accounts as of press time.
In a statement issued in December, Triterras said the only outstanding task is Nexia’s completion of the audit, and said legal action was being taken against the firm as a result.
“The company believes it is unfortunate that there has been a significant delay on the part of Nexia TS to complete the audit, and the company had no alternative but to send, through its lawyers, a demand letter… confirming the company’s position on certain matters related to Nexia TS,” it said.
The statement marks a change in tone from Triterras, which said in June that Nexia had been “selected as the independent auditor after careful review and consideration”.
“We believe that Nexia TS brings to us strong local resources with the benefits of a global organisation to serve our audit needs and to support our growth orientation and expanding international operations,” chief executive Srinivas Koneru said at the time.
Nexia TS did not respond when contacted by GTR.
The January 20 hearing will result in a “final determination regarding the company’s listing status”, Triterras says. The company declined to comment further when contacted.
The Nasdaq decision capped a challenging year for Triterras. Problems initially arose when, in late 2019, it disclosed financial difficulties at Rhodium Resources – a commodities trader now known as Antanium Resources, also founded and run by Koneru.
That prompted legal challenges from investors over the extent to which Triterras was reliant on Rhodium’s customer base. It was shortly followed by short seller allegations that a far higher proportion of transactions involved parties linked to Koneru or fellow director Rick Maurer than previously disclosed – claims the company denies.
Rhodium’s financial difficulties have exposed other pressures on Triterras. GTR revealed in December that blockchain data shows several Rhodium creditors were also participants on its platform during 2020, but have since fallen into liquidation or have faced insolvency proceedings of their own.
Triterras did not respond when asked whether the number of traders on Triterras that have experienced financial difficulties is significant, but has long insisted that data extracted from Kratos-related blockchain records is inaccurate or incomplete.
The company says an internal investigation by its audit committee has concluded that the short seller allegations “lack either factual support or material basis”, and do not require additional action. It has not disclosed the identity of any external advisors used or given any further detail on their findings.
Triterras has also suffered tensions at boardroom level. In April, two directors stood down from its board following a disagreement over its response to those allegations, with one saying senior staff “have very different views to my own as to the optimal path forward for the company at this extremely challenging time”.
Its share price has dropped around 80% from its December 2020 peak. If the company is delisted from Nasdaq, investors would only be able to buy and sell shares over the counter.