DUBLIN — Ireland’s oldest and largest accountancy body has set up an investigation into the conduct of its members in the publicly quoted Northern Ireland engineering company Powerscreen.
Officers from the UK Serious Fraud Squad and the London Stock Exchange are already probing the company, which is based in Coalisland.
The company’s 11,000 shareholders are currently considering a takeover offer from the American engineering company Terex Corporation.
The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland said it has reason to believe that the UK investigations will not focus specifically on audit issues and therefore decided to set up its own parallel probe.
The ICAI investigation will consider whether any accountants should be subject to disciplinary proceedings for misconduct arising out of events between November 1997 and June 1998 at the company.
In November 1997, Powerscreen announced pre-tax profits of £23.6 million in the six months to September. Six weeks later, is raised £18 million by selling 3 million shares on the market.
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In January 1998, the company told the Stock Exchange that irregularities had been discovered in its subsidiary Matbro, which gave rise to a £47 million provision against pre-tax profits.
The share price slumped from £6.50 to £2.95.
Matbro was sold to the John Deere company for £7 million in April 1998.