23 September 1998
Powerscreen probe nears end

THE multimillion pound investigation into accounting irregularities at Powerscreen International is expected to be completed in the next couple of months. The final report is expected to recommend legal action against accountants KPMG.

Powerscreen rocked the market in January when it said there was a hole in the accounts of its Matbro subsidiary, which makes agricultural machinery. Powerscreen shares have slumped in the wake of an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office.

Powerscreen has since announced annual results that showed a pre-tax loss of £47.6 million for the year to 31 March. Matbro itself made a £50.2m loss. The company also had to restate its 1997 accounts, cutting the published profits figure by £26.2m – about £6m more than had been anticipated.

Powerscreen is now awaiting advice on whether it can sue KPMG, its auditors. Lawyers are also advising on whether it can sue three executives for the return of bonus payments.

The company has been selling businesses to cut debt. It has just announced the sale of USTC, a Pennsylvanian crane maker, to The Manitowoc Company for $45m (£27m). It may also sell CPV, which makes containers for chemicals and liquid gas, and Ludlow-Saylor, a screening business.

  • The Times 23/09/98 page 26, 28 (Tempus)
  • The Independent 23/09/98 page 21 (In Brief)
  • Financial Times 23/09/98 page 25, page 26
  • The Daily Telegraph 23/09/98 page 33
  • The Herald 23/09/98 page 21