M&C Saatchi’s UK head office has warned that it expects its shares to be suspended this week, as the agency risks missing a deadline to file its audited annual results after finding additional problems with previous reporting.
There is a delay in publishing the 2019 audited accounts, which will likely mean a temporary suspension of share trading from today (Thursday the 1st).
“This is fundamentally an issue of timing and the business expects share trading to recommence in a matter of weeks,” it said in a statement.
“M&C Saatchi and our auditors are confident that there will not be any major changes,” it said.
Highlights of the results are said to include:
- We continue to trade well and profitably. Our preliminary unaudited 2019 results, published today, show net revenue of £256.4m and unaudited headline profit before tax of £18.3m.
- Trading in 2020 has been better than we’d predicted, despite the challenging global economic environment. Our cash position is stronger than it has been for many years. It’s business as usual – talented teams and clients working hard to deliver world-class campaigns
- Despite Covid-19, our performance this year is stronger than anticipated, we are profitable with a robust balance sheet. This enables us to service clients to the highest possible standard and continue to invest in people and products
The London-listed M&C was rocked by an accounting scandal in 2019 that caused its share price to plummet by two-thirds, and saw the departure of its founder Maurice Saatchi and three independent directors due to disagreements over the direction of the holding company.
The company said on Wednesday that total accounting errors in 2018 and prior years have now reached £25.8m, with £14m being direct misstatements of profits before tax.
M&C Saatchi operates in 76 countries, with its Australian operations reportedly its second most profitable group outside of the UK.
Back in April, the CEO of its Australian operations, Jaimes Leggett, shocked just about everyone with his resignation.
In a statement to B&T, its Australian operations said: “It is important to acknowledge that this update in no way affects our AUNZ business and that the short-term suspension of share trading has absolutely no bearing on the current health and day to day running of our Group companies, nor in any way impacts our clients, or staff.
“Our business in Australia and NZ is cash positive, financially independent from our PLC and boasts some of Australia’s most iconic brands that we all enjoy working with every day. All led by a strong, experienced management team,” the statement read.
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