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Britain’s largest supermarket chain Tesco saw its shares’ value plummet yesterday after four of its senior managers were suspended as suspicion around the massaging of profit figures emerged.
The over-statement has been estimated at a staggering £250 million.
The group’s chief executive Dave Lewis, who had been informed of the fudged accounts last Friday through a whistleblower, said he expected the company to “operate with integrity and transparency.”
Among the disgraced executives is thought to be Tesco UK managing director Chris Bush.
This August Tesco announced its half-year profits to be around £1.1 billion — a figure now known to be much lower.
The corrected results would mean that the retailer suffered a decrease of almost 50 per cent in its annual profits.
The turn of events was said to have left stockbrokers “flabbergasted.”
An investigation into the company’s accounts is now being conducted by Deloitte, after Tesco itself raised the alarm with the City watchdog the Financial Conduct Authority.
Consultancy firm Conlumino managing director Neil Saunders said that “mistakes can happen, but this gives the impression of a company that is not in full control of its internal procedures.”
The group is currently now without a finance director and will have to make do until new recruit Alan Stewart makes a planned switch from Marks & Spencer in December.
According to Mr Saunders the news also means “that performance, which is already extremely weak, is actually much weaker than anticipated.”
The group’s market shares dropped a record 11 per cent after the news broke — the lowest result in a decade.
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