Online extra – Regent FDs under fire

Regent Inns finance directors came under further fire this week following reports that they failed to clarify a change to their sales calculations published in their annual reports.

Last June Regent Inns issued a profit warning, sharply downgrading its like for like sales figures. In the following interim results it said that like for sales were up 1.5% from last year, a sharp contrast to a forecast of 7% earlier in the year. The Regent Inns board disclosed that ?accounting inconsistencies and irregularities ? amounted to #1.7m for the financial year.

In February Regent Inns started calculating revenues over two years instead of one. But in a meeting on 16 April, between former Regent Inns FD Clive Watson and his successor Paul Huberman, it was reported that this change in calculating like for like sales was not made clear.

Under Accounting Standards Board rules, companies must clearly explain changes to the way like for like sales are calculated, if the sales are identified separately in the accounts. The ASB?s review panel handles investigations into individual misreporting accounting cases.

Last September, Regent Inns received a letter from its auditors BDO Stoy Hayward warning that financial controls in the group were breaking down.

A spokesman for Regent Inns said: ?The worst you can say is the Regent Inns directors allowed the market to misunderstand it. Its nonsense to suggest they deliberately withheld financial information.?

Both Regent Inns and the Stock Exchange refused to comment on reports that Regent Inns were under investigation by the Stock Exchange.

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