AstraZeneca starts ball rolling on IAS39

Link: Corporate governance – Are analysts up to the IFRS job?

The drugs giant has been roundly praised for its proactive approach in restating its 2003 and first-half 2004 accounts under IFRS. Jonathan Symonds, chief financial officer at AstraZeneca, said more companies were due to follow suit soon.

But Symonds defended the use of the modified IAS39, saying there was a ‘degree of uncertainty’ over the parts of the standard that have been cut and placed under review.

He denied that adopting the EC version would send out a negative image, despite his role as chairman of The Hundred Group of Finance Directors. ‘I’ve made it repeatedly clear that politics shouldn’t enter accounting standards, and ultimately our objective is the creation of a single global standard of accounting,’ he said.

The group will use the modified version in the first quarter 2005, when IFRS comes into effect if ‘the assumptions that we’ve currently got hold’. The overall effect of the restatement was to lower the company’s earnings per share by two cents to $1.76 (£0.96) and operating profit by $104m (£56.6m) to $4,007m.

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