Auditors resignations and rumours around their resignations are disrupting the stocks of Atlanta, Manapasand Beverages and Vakrangee. Additionally, the Dilip Buildcon stock also fell amid similar rumours. However, the company issued a clarification stating that its auditors had not resigned. “We wish to confirm that there is no truth in the matter and the rumours are baseless,” Dilip Buildcon siad in an exchange notification. The stock closed 8.83% lower at Rs -836.5 on the BSE on Thursday. The share price of Atlanta has slipped 55.5% since the beginning of the year, and a sharp 60% in the past two weeks. The stock fell after its auditor, Price Waterhouse, resigned raising concerns about the finances of the infrastructure company.
“Significant information, including certain significant observations made by tax authorities, requested by us from the company at various points in time as a part of the audit were not provided to us, or were not provided in a timely manner and there by suffered from inadequacy in evaluating the observations and its impact on the financial statements,” said Asha Ramnathan, partner at Price Waterhouse Chartered Accountants.
“This is the first time the auditors have shown that they owe a responsibility to a broader stakeholders and not just the management. To some extent, auditors have started to push the management, making this a welcome development,” said Amit Tandon, managing director of Institutional Investor Advisory Services (IiAS).
Both the auditors of Manapasand Beverages and Vakrangee resigned just days before signing off on annual accounts. While PW resigned as the auditor of Vakrangee on April 27, Deloitte Haskins & Sells quit as the auditor of Manpasand Beverages on May 26.
The stock of Manpasand has fallen 50% since May 22 and has lost market cap worth Rs 2,558.2 crore from Rs 5,103 crore. Despite its announcement of a new facility in Odisha, investors opted to sell off its shares amid the exit of auditors ahead of the company’s results for the January-March quarter. The company’s auditor Deloitte Haskins & Sells India said significant information requested from the company at various stages for the purpose of audit of financial results was not shared. “While there could have been some delays, we have never denied sharing any information with them ever,” argued Manpasand Beverages.
While Vakrangee’s stock has fallen 93.5% since January, the announcement of its auditors resignation came in April. In February, there were rumours surrounding business relationship between PC Jeweller and Vakrangee. However, the management of PC Jeweller had argued that it has no business agreement with Vakrangee and neither plans any in the future.
Tandon further explained that mid-cap and small-cap companies must be the ones auditors look to follow innovative accounting policies. “This is why auditors are saying we just can’t sign off. They have much more to lose than these firms because they are global franchises,” he adds.