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Accounting watchdog “looking closely” at Conviviality and auditors

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Accounting watchdog “looking closely” at Conviviality and auditors

The accounting watchdog is “looking closely” at the issues surrounding the collapse into administration of drinks wholesaler Conviviality.

The news comes after it emerged that two profit warnings issued by the firm shortly before its collapse were as a result of accounting errors.

The first of the warnings, on 8 March, saw the firm downgrade its earnings projections to 20% below market expectations after a “material error” in its financial forecasts.

The second, on 14 March, revealed the discovery of an unexpected £30m tax bill, which fell due on 29 March and hadn’t been accounted for.

Conviviality tried to raise £125m to cover the bill but failed to do so. PwC was called in to act as administrator for Conviviality Plc and Conviviality Brands Ltd.

C&C Group subsequently bought Conviviality’s Matthew Clark and Bibendum businesses, while its retail arm was sold to Bestway.

Now the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has confirmed that it is monitoring the issues surrounding Conviviality’s demise with a view to a possible formal investigation into how accounting at the firm was conducted.

In a statement, it said: “The FRC is looking closely at the reported accounting issues at Conviviality.

“If the relevant threshold tests are met in relation to accountants at the company and/or its auditors a formal investigation may be opened.”

Conviviality declined to comment.

The Caterer has also contacted Conviviality’s auditor KPMG for comment.

The FRC is itself undergoing a “root and branch” review, conducted by Legal & General chairman Sir John Kingman, after criticism of the regulator by some investors and MPs who claim it is too close to the big four accounting firms.

Matthew Clark and Bibendum seek to reassure customers following sale >>

Conviviality sells retail arm of business to wholesaler Bestway >>

Administrators appointed to run Conviviality >>

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