Cloud over Alpha Airports lifts

The stock exchange suspension of Alpha Airports has been lifted after the
inflight caterer said it had addressed the problems that saw auditor
PricewaterhouseCoopers withdraw its approval of the company’s accounts earlier
this year.

Alpha Airports was suspended from trading in April after PwC withdrew its
approval of the group’s accounts because of a contract the company had secured
with Gatwick-based charter airline Excel Airways.

The suspension forced the departure of finance director Heather McRae and
chief executive Kevin Abbott and a special committee was appointed to look into
the matter.

As its suspension was lifted last week, Alpha Airports said the special
committee had found that the company had ‘made certain statements to PwC, which
misrepresented the true effect’ of the contract, and that ‘material aspects’ of
the contract were ‘not genuine transactions’.

The company added that the committee had found that the caterer’s corporate
governance ‘fell short of the standards expected’. Alpha said it was taking
‘various steps to strengthen the corporate governance, internal control and risk
management of the group’.

New chief executive Peter Williams, an accountant and former Selfridges chief
executive, said that the matter was now behind the group, which had since
received the all-clear from PwC.

‘The special committee’s conclusions have been considered by the board and a
number of actions are now underway to ensure appropriate internal controls and
corporate governance procedures are in place,’ said Williams.

Alpha Airports is currently searching for a permanent finance director to
replace interim incumbent Tim Redburn. The company has a shortlist of candidates
for the position.

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