Crisis-hit pub group to meet auditors this week

Link: £20m errors hit pub group

Horwath chief executive David Furst expects to meet company officials by Friday to discuss admissions made yesterday by the company that it had overstated current assets and understated liabilities by £20m in aggregate.

Furst told that he had no idea whether SFI, which owns the Slug & Lettuce chain of pubs, would seek to hold Horwath responsible for the failures until that meeting.

‘The position at the moment is that we have no details as to what the alleged accounting misstatements may be,’ he said. ‘Until that time I’m not in a position to comment.’

However, the firm has audited SFI for several years and accepts that the accounting misstatements are likely to have occurred during that period.

SFI said yesterday that the accounting treatment of these assets and liabilities was now under review. An overall review of the group’s financial position – began on 21 October by group FD Tim Andrews with the assistance of PricewaterhouseCoopers – is also underway.

In yesterday’s statement to the London Stock Exchange, the company also said its cash flow estimates at the time of the acquisition of the Cafe Parisa chain last November were over optimistic and were actually £10m in excess of those reported in the year to May 2002.

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