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Elders closes in on cattle "discrepancies"

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The mystery surrounding Elders live cattle business accounting discrepancies has become clearer, the company says.

Elders appointed an independent forensic investigator at examine overstatements of global cattle trading transactions in the 2012 and 2013 financial years.

In a report released today Elders said independent investigator PPB Advisory had identified “evidence that attributes responsibility for the overstatements to a handful of individuals who were then employees of the trading business unit”.

“The preliminary findings … conclude that live export trading profits and assets were overstated through non-compliance with Elders’ stated livestock accounting policy and accounting standards for these transactions.

“PPB Advisory found that the discrepancies were supported by falsified documentation and journal entries and misleading management representations made to senior management and external auditors.

“Whilst Elders is yet to receive final reports from PPB Advisory, it has pre-emptively made changes to reporting systems and structures to increase protection against deliberate and collusive breaches of its accounting policies.”

The statement said it would await a final report before deciding its next step.

“In respect of the individuals identified by PPB Advisory as responsible for the overstatements, Elders will consider its position after receipt of the final reports from PPB Advisory. Elders will not hesitate to refer matters to the relevant authorities where applicable.”

Elders has already accounted for the financial impact of the discrepancies through adjustments made in the 2013 financial statements which were announced to the ASX by Elders on 18 November 2013.

The company said it reserves further comment on this issue until it has received and considered final reports from PPB Advisory.

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