Image blow for brand consultants

SP Holdings – brand consultants to Manchester United, the IOC and New York’s 2012 Olympic bid – is facing the prospect of having its accounts qualified for the second year in a row.

Company secretary Graham May said the AIM-listed company, whose chairman Simon Eagle resigned in 2004, is expecting its auditors to qualify the financial statements because of the liquidation of a subsidiary.

SP Holdings, previously known as World Sports Solutions, put subsidiary World Sports Solutions International into liquidation without undertaking an audit, and as a result its 2003 accounts were qualified.

Its auditor, Audit Assure, is now expected to make the same qualification in the 2004 results, as the liquidated subsidiary has still not been audited.

‘The auditors entered the reservation into their report because the liquidation represented a major item of approximately £9m,’ May explained.

Since its 31 October 2004 year-end, SP Holdings has appointed David Mends as its chief financial officer, who, the company says, has ‘strengthened the company’s financial control and reporting’. But chairman Neil Bitel has admitted that the company was left reeling after Eagle’s departure.

‘Although the reasons for Mr Eagle’s departure were not caused by the company it has contributed to the disappointing loss,’ Bitel said of the £2.5m loss in 2004. Eagle resigned after the FSA began investigating share trading in Fundamental-E Investments, where he was also chairman.

The financial regulator’s enforcement division had begun its examination of the business on 15 July 2004, shortly before its stock was suspended by the LSE.

Simon Eagle quit from Fundamental-E, and also resigned his non-executive directorship of cash-shell Easier.

As reported in Accountancy Age, Easier has been battling to sign off its accounts after losing a court battle with Deloitte in which it attempted to stop the Big Four firm from resigning the audit.

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