After 'Intense' Tenure, Neovia C.E.O. to Step Down

13 March 2009
In a fourth-quarter trading update Friday, Neovia Financial announced that its chief executive, Ronald D. Martin, would be stepping down for "family reasons" after three intense years at the helm.

Mr. Martin, who joined Neovia in 2005 as chief operating officer, guided the company through its twilight as a United States-facing online gambling money-transfer provider in 2006, then through its stock-market crash, legal troubles -- and eventually, its recovery -- in 2007 and 2008.

In an interview with IGamingNews in December, Mr. Martin described 2007, particularly, as year when challenging business decisions had to be made.

"Clearly, one of the most challenging and heart-wrenching things for me was letting go of a lot of people that had done a lot to drive the company to where it was and who were talented," he said.

The company said that Mr. Martin will remain on during the transition period, and that a recruitment process for his replacement is being commenced.

With regard to fourth-quarter trading, meanwhile, revenue is anticipated to come in around $21.3 million, up 31 percent over last year and 11.5 percent over the previous quarter.

Fee income, excluding interest, was up 43 percent over the previous-year period to $19.8 million, though interest income fell 38 percent to $1.5 million. And Active e-wallet users were up slightly from 97,448 to 97,673, year over year.

Neovia's $15.5 million proposed acquisition of IDT Financial Services Holdings Ltd, announced in December, has not been completed and remains subject to approval from Financial Services Commission Gibraltar. A further update will be made "in due course," it said.

In a research note Friday, Neovia's house broker, Daniel Stewart & Company, suspended its recommendation given "the uncertainty over the group’s figures and strategy following the announcement of the CEO departure and delay in completing the IDT acquisition (returns on which we had included in our forecasts)."

Its shares have declined steadily across 2009, down 36 percent since a January 7 high of 55.75 pence.

Neovia's full-yearly results are due out in late April.

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