Martin Sorrell-led S4 Capital delayed issuing its fourth quarter and full-year 2021 results for the second time and investors weren’t happy—they sent shares of the company down another 8% on the London Stock Exchange today. For the last month shares are down nearly 30%.
The company initially expected to release 2021 results in early March but on March 1 announced a postponement attributed to accountant PwC being delayed by COVID-related travel issues to collecting all the necessary data it needed to complete its report. S4 had rescheduled the release date to today, March 31.
But yesterday the company issued another statement indicating that PwC had still not completed the work necessary to issue results today. For now the firm has not rescheduled a reporting date.
“As a result, the Company will release its Preliminary Results for 2021 as soon as PwC have completed their work,” the firm said in a statement. “The Company believes that the results for 2021 remain within the range of market expectations and continued to trade strongly in the first two months of 2022.”
Some analysts weren’t so sure.
Bloomberg reported Morgan Stanley analyst Omar Sheikh indicating that, “based on conversations with the company, the reason for the delay is no longer a resource issue, and the lack of a revised date suggests the problem is ‘non-trivial.’”
Bloomberg also quoted Kepler Cheuvreux analyst Conor O’Shea: “We do not yet know the precise details of what the problem is, but believe that PwC is unlikely to have taken the decision lightly. While it would be too much to say that this has echoes of Wirecard, at first sight it may be similar to the accounting issues that besieged Atos in 2021.”
Atos is an IT firm that became embroiled in controversy a year ago when it reported accounting errors at two of its U.S. units. Wirecard was a fintech firm that collapsed two years ago after an accounting scandal involving fraud and the arrest of three of its top executives.