15 May 1998

SFO to investigate irregularities in Matbro accounting

By Andy Collings

MATBROS saga continues; last week John Deere announced its intention to buy the design and manufacturing rights for Matbros loader range, this week it is reported that the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is set to investigate accounting irregularities at Matbro.

A statement released by the SFO said: "A report dealing with accounting irregularities at Matbro Limited and Matbro (NI) Ltd, has been referred to the SFO by the Department of Trade and Industry. The SFO has decided to investigate these irregularities".

To recap, January saw Powerscreen, Matbros parent company reveal a £47m deficit alleged to have been created by unauthorised discounting and duplicate bills of exchange at Matbro. This resulted in a loss of £10m for Powerscreen against a £42m profit for 1996.

The decision by the SFO to investigate Matbro follows a report by auditors KPMG of its investigation into the losses. It should be noted that the SFO is not investigating Powerscreen. &#42