IMS still lacking clarity

Consultants Radley Yeldar joined experts from Deloitte in highlighting the
grey area that has emerged as companies’ Interim Management Statements differ

As reported by Accountancy Age last month, companies are now
required to produce an IMS during prescribed periods for the first and second
halves of the financial year. Some companies are not providing the required
information, while others are producing reams of data.

FTSE 100 giant Severn Trent produced an IMS consisting of 28 words, while
British Energy produced a 29-page document.

Radley Yeldar called on the FSA to clarify what was required of companies in
order to create a level playing field.

Despite it being a key requirement, information given on financial position
was much less than that given for financial performance, Deloitte found in a
study of the first corporates to produce the statements.

Early indications showed that few companies were including data giving a
general description of the balance sheet or information on net assets, cash,
debtors or investment in R&D and capital expenditure.

The Big Four firm also believed there are still questions over who would take
responsibility for ensuring compliance with the new regulation. The FRRP is
expected to say that the IMS reports are outside its remit, Deloitte said.


Advisers face £1bn Refco lawsuit

Grant Thornton, Ernst & Young and PwC along with global investment banks
Credit Suisse Securities (USA), Bank of America and Deutsche Bank Securities and
Chicago law firm Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw, have all been named in a $2bn
(£1bn) lawsuit brought by the bankruptcy trustee of failed stockbroker Refco.
The trustee is suing for damages for the firms’ alleged role in ‘looting’ Refco.
The decision to sue the three accounting firms as well as the law firm signals a
trend by aggrieved parties in securities fraud cases to increasingly target
professional advisers. The decision to sue came a month after an independent
examiner into Refco appointed by a New York bankruptcy court said Refco’s
creditors had viable legal claims against the firm’s lawyers and accountants.

M&A outlook bleak after credit crunch

Dealmakers, who have enjoyed an unprecedented deal boom over the past three
years, are facing an uncertain future as the funding for deals dries up
following the credit crunch that hit markets. Thomson Financial figures show
that by the end of July, European M&A deals had reached $1.2bn (£604m), more
than the whole of 2006. But with the US sub-prime crisis hitting global equity
markets, corporate financiers have become very edgy.’ The irrational behaviour
in the credit markets is being driven by uncertainty,’ Tom Cooper, head of
European M &A at UBS said. ‘The underlying causes are not very clear and it
is impossible to assess the full consequences at this stage.’

BSkyB sells off long-term incentive plan stock

Jeremy Darroch (pictured) has raked in £1.72m after selling off a significant
portion of his stock. The BSkyB CFO sold more than 80% of shares awarded to him
in 2004 and 2005 under the satellite TV provider’s long-term incentive plan
available to its top brass. The dormant stock became eligible for sale recently
and Darroch made his move in the wake of the company achieving a number of
operational targets during the past three years.

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