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'Reviewing some serious allegations': BharatPe CEO Suhail Sameer tells employees

'Reviewing some serious allegations': BharatPe CEO Suhail Sameer tells employees

In a letter to BharatPe's employees, reviewed by BT, CEO Suhail Sameer addressed the ongoing controversy regarding co-founder Ashneer Grover and his wife Madhuri Jain.

BharatPe, CEO, Suhail Sameer writes a letter to his employees stating that the corporate governnace review will be shared with them soon BharatPe, CEO, Suhail Sameer writes a letter to his employees stating that the corporate governnace review will be shared with them soon

BharatPe CEO, Suhail Sameer has written to the fintech company’s employees stating that there are some “serious allegations” and that the company is expecting to receive the interim review report from the auditors in a couple of weeks. The top executives at BharatPe confirmed to Business Today that a letter has gone out from the CEO to the employees amidst a raging legal tussle between the BharatPe’s co-founder and managing director, Ashneer Grover and the company management.

Grover has gone on a voluntary leave till April 1 and is reportedly seeking to sell his nearly 10 per cent stake in the fintech unicorn.

The letter was reviewed by Business Today. In this letter, Sameer assured employees that none of the allegations will have any bearing on the medium to long term health of the business and that the summary of findings will be shared with the employees.

“Let me talk about the elephant in the room first --Governance Review being carried out by well-known and reputed external firms (SAM, A&M and PwC). Based on some internal complaints, we decided to do a full audit of our governance processes. While many of the findings of the review are pretty standard for a fast growth company of our size, there are a couple of more serious allegations, which the review is still substantiating. Nothing which can't be corrected going forward, and none of it has any bearing on the medium to long term health of the business. We expect the review partners (consultants) to share an interim report with the Board in a couple of weeks,” Sameer wrote.

The BharatPe CEO also shared with his employees the business trajectory of the company, especially its plan to set up the digital-first Unity Small Finance Bank.

“On to business, we are on an incredible trajectory. How we managed Covid wave 3 is nothing short of spectacular. Hardly any dip in Total Payments Volume (TPV), continued scale-up of Postpe, stellar lending collection performance, great growth at PAYBACK, and as with each Covid wave in BharatPe's history, a couple of fab products ready to launch,” Sameer said.

“We hit the annualised TPV run-rate of $1 billion in December, and are already back at that run-rate in February despite many markets still impacted with Covid (that too with F&B, our largest category, still struggling in many parts of the country), Postpe is definitely a world class product -- easily the fastest BNPL product to hit 500 crore TPV, and with out-of-the-world metrics (on number of customers onboarded per month, activation rates, transactions per consumer, as well as collection performance). PAYBACK is on a spree (January was the highest ever points redemption month, and thus highest ever revenue, since we welcomed them to BharatPe). All of this put together means January 2022 was our lifetime best month so far in terms of revenue, as well as on margins. In January, RBI also gave us the PMC bank amalgamation approval with Unity (our Small Finance Bank in partnership with Centrum), and both Centrum and our teams are working hard towards building India's first truly digital bank. And we continue to grow as a team,” he added..
 
Sameer further said in his address to employees that BharatPe has a healthy cash flow of $500 million, out of which $100 million is in the small finance bank, and that new investors are constantly reaching out to the company for new investments.

He added that BharatPe will soon organise a town hall towards the end of February for the employees.

Ashneer Grover and his wife, Madhuri Jain have been allegedly involved in financial frauds and fake recruitments as per a preliminary report conducted by the risk advisory firm, Alvarez and Marsel, which was engaged by BharatPe, along with PwC and law firm, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas and Co.

Grover is reportedly demanding Rs 4,000 crore from the BharatPe board to take an exit from the firm. He has also roped in Delhi-based legal firm Karanjawala and Co ahead of a likely legal showdown between him and BharatPe.

BT has reached out to the company for an official  confirmation/statement on the matter. The story will be updated as and when they respond.