Monday, September 28, 2020

Choppies shares remains suspended as company continue with “self investigation”

By Victor Baatweng

Trading of Botswana Stock Exchange Limited (BSEL) listed Choppies Enterprises shares began this week suspended pending the publication of the company’s financial statements for the period that ended June 2018.

The Choppies shares were suspended about a week ago following the regional retailer’s failure to meet the 31st October deadline that was set by the BSEL.

The BSEL’s listing requirements dictate that quoted entities publish their full year financial results within a space of three months. The full year reporting period for Choppies ended in June 2018 ÔÇô which means it had up to September to publish the audited results.

While the BSEL says the Choppies stock shall remain suspended until the company comply with its listing requirements, the retailer management on the other hand has notified shareholders that the company is unable to tell when it will be in a position to publish the pending financials.

According to an earlier cautionary statement released by the company in late September, said that its board ÔÇô together with the new auditors have been working together to reassess the past accounting practices and policies.

Still at the time, Choppies explained that the reassessments are complex by nature, requiring careful analysis in order to determine the impact on prior and current periods. Furthermore, the retailer said its board of directors and its new auditors -PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), have uncovered number of matters relating to the current and earlier financial periods, which require independent verification and expert legal analysis before disclosures can be made.

“Certain transactions and business relationships hitherto were not made fully apparent and were therefore not sufficiently considered in preparation of historical annual financial statements,” read part of the statement issued in September 2018.

The transactions and relationships referred to include certain business acquisition transactions undertaken by South African subsidiary during the 2017 and 2018 financial years. Also part of the scrutiny is the ramifications of the “well published shareholder dispute in Zimbabwe.”

Choppies went on to say that while these independent verifications and expert legal analyses have been initiated, their completion date and outcomes cannot be determined with any reasonable certainty at this stage, hence impacting the finalization of the company’s audited financial results, which are a month behind schedule.

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Sunday Standard September 27 – 3 October

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 27 - 3 October, 2020.