Andersen clients in audit review

Media group WPP this week altered its position towards the embattled firm. It is now ‘reviewing its alternatives’, over whether it will continue with Andersen as its auditor.

The company would not be drawn any further on its next step, but it is understood the international group is considering its options because it is anxious that its auditor is part of an international network.

Meanwhile, confectionery giant Cadbury Schweppes has put its audit ‘under review’. Particularly in relation to international Andersen developments.

Andersen has been Cadbury Schweppes’ auditor for ten years and it told Accountancy Age it was satisfied with the firm’s work.

It also said its board and audit committee had reviewed Andersen seriously and would be seeking the firm’s reappointment at its agm next month.

The board of the FTSE-100 client Cadbury has ‘unanimously’ recommended the firm be retained as its auditor. But it added: ‘We reserve the right to keep the matter under review.’

A spokeswoman for Andersen said the stance of the two firms has remained unchanged.

However, any further big audit client losses would hit the firm hard.

Companies such as public transport operator Stagecoach and investment manager Amvescap, have recently quit the firm as has Safeway, although the supermarket’s decision was not based on Enron-related matters.

And last week Europe’s biggest cable company United Pan-Europe Communications, whose shares are listed on the New York and London Stock Exchange, said it may not continue employing Andersen as auditor.

The firm has, however, received support from companies including package holiday giant Airtours, which recently voted in favour of retaining the audit services of the firm.

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