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U.K. Audit Watchdog Asks Companies to Delay Non-Urgent Reports

March 23, 2020, 7:34 AM

The U.K. Financial Reporting Council said companies should consider delaying all non-essential corporate reports for the next two weeks, after the Financial Conduct Authority asked publicly-traded companies to delay reporting their results as the coronavirus pandemic freezes business activity.

The U.K. audit regulator said it supports the FCA’s request and also encourages listed companies and auditors “to consider carefully whether they should delay other corporate reports for the next two weeks, such as interim financial statements and final audited financial statements, except where necessary to meet a legal or regulatory requirement,” according to an emailed statement on Monday.

More than 50 firms were scheduled to publish half and full-year figures over the next two weeks, including house-builder Bellway Plc. and medical equipment maker Smiths Group Plc. Companies across all industries are reeling as nations go into lockdown to combat the deadly pandemic. A fifth of the market value of Britain’s 100 biggest listed companies has been wiped out in the past two weeks as panic spread through global markets.

The FRC will soon announce measures it’s working on with the FCA and the Prudential Regulation Authority to ensure companies and auditors “take the necessary time in these uncertain times to prepare appropriate disclosures and address current practical challenges.”

“Recent unprecedented events mean that the basis on which companies are reporting and planning is changing rapidly. It is important that due consideration is given by companies to these events in preparing all reporting,” the FRC said.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Aoife White in Brussels at awhite62@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net

Nikos Chrysoloras

© 2020 Bloomberg L.P. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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