Lookers to delay 2020 results yet again as auditors say they need ‘slightly more time’

  • Lookers updates London Stock exchange with delay to publication of 2020 results
  • Auditors ‘need more time’
  • Dealer group still hopeful it can publish before June 30 deadline

Time 3 months ago

Lookers has announced it will yet again delay publishing its 2020 results.

In an update to the London Stock Exchange this morning, the dealer group said there would be a ‘short delay’ to the publication of its results to year ended December 31, due to its auditors requiring ‘slightly more time’.

The much-anticipated and already heavily delayed results were due to be released tomorrow (June 29) at 7am.

Lookers says it’s still hopeful of releasing its accounts by June 30 – a deadline set by the FCA.

The update said: ‘Procedures in relation to the group’s 2020 annual report & accounts are almost complete and we are not aware of any material issues.

‘However, the board and the group’s new auditors, BDO LLP, require slightly more time to conclude the audit process.

‘In light of the above, and following discussions with its auditors, the group’s scheduled announcement of the 2020 results, at 7am on June 29, 2021, will be delayed.’

The update added: ‘The board is mindful that under the Financial Conduct Authorities (the “FCA”) amended Disclosure Guidance and Transparency Rules, the group’s 2020 Results need to be published by June 30, 2021.

‘The board’s view is that this timetable is still achievable, but some timing risk still exists in the completion of audit processes.’

In a trading update, Lookers said it expects ‘full year performance to December 31, 2021 to be significantly ahead of current expectations’.

Lookers CEO Mark Raban said: ‘Performance in the first six months of the year has been exceptionally strong underpinned by our relentless focus on operational excellence, strong consumer demand, significant market outperformance and a much improved omni-channel customer experience.

‘I would like to thank the fantastic Lookers team for their considerable efforts and commitment in delivering these results.’

Up to now, Lookers has blamed the Covid-19 pandemic for the delay in its results, and has used extra time offered in the FCA’s extended reporting deadline.

In recent weeks, the listed dealer group had appeared to have turned a corner from a turbulent 18 months.

Last month Zeus Capital upgraded its forecasts by 17.5 per cent saying the group would make £40.2m in 2021 – up from Zeus’ £34.2m prediction it made in May.

Lookers timeline: What’s happened when? 

Click on the date to read the full story

June 16, 2021 – Lookers tells shareholders to stay away from AGM due to four-week delay in Covid unlocking

June 7, 2021 – Lookers chair Phil White to stay on as group reveals when it will finally announce its 2020 results

June 3, 2021 – Lookers opens new £4.6m Jaguar Land Rover dealership

May 26, 2021 – Lookers seen as good buy for investors as analysts upgrade forecast once again

May 25, 2021 – Lookers finally renews its banking facility as it agrees credit deal with consortium of banks

April 13, 2021 – Lookers non-executive director Heather Jackson to step down at end of April

April 9, 2021 – Motor trade analysts upgrade their forecast for Lookers as share price jumps again

April 8, 2021 – Lookers reveals its performance for first quarter of 2021 was ahead of board expectations in unscheduled announcement to Stock Market.

March 18, 2021 – Lookers said it expects to make a profit before tax of around £10m for 2020 – up from £4.2m for 2019 as it reveals talks with banks are ‘progressing’.

March 15, 2021 – Lookers’ previous auditors Deloitte under investigation by Financial Reporting Council of its work on the group’s accounts in 2017 and 2018.

March 2, 2021 – FCA investigation closed and no fine imposed on Lookers. FCA expressed ‘concerns’ relating to ‘historic culture, systems and controls’, but said no further action would be taken.

January 29, 2021 – Lookers revealed it lost £36.1m in the first half of 2020. The interim results led to shares being relisted on London Stock Exchange. They immediately rose 77 per cent.

January 6, 2021 – Lookers appoints Anna Bielby as interim chief financial officer, but there was no news on the delayed interim results.

December 29, 2020 – A third of shareholders vote against Lookers directors’ remuneration packages – including CEO Mark Raban’s £450k salary – at a general meeting.

December 18, 2020 – Lookers tells investors that its interim results, promised to be delivered before the end of the year, will now not be published.

December 9, 2020– Lookers reveals interim CFO Jim Perrie has quit early and says it is ‘unlikely’ the interim results will be out before the end of the year.

November 25, 2020 – Lookers finally releases its annual accounts for 2019 showing a statutory loss for 2019 of £45.5m. Promises interim results in December and the hopeful reinstatement of shares on Stock Market.

October 31, 2020 – Long-standing Lookers non-executive director Tony Bramall, one of the group’s major investors, brings forward the date he will leave the board to the end of December. No reason is given for his early departure.

October 19, 2020 – Lookers updates market on performance in Q3, but still no word on its 2019 accounts or the FCA investigation. Analysts expect results to be out before December.

August 20, 2020 – Accounts delayed for fourth time and no promise given as to when they’ll be published.

June 9, 2020 – Lookers says it will suspend shares on July 1. Delays accounts for third time and says they’ll be published ‘no later than the end of August 2020’.

June 5, 2020 – Lookers says it will axe 12 dealerships and cut 1,500 jobs.

May 2020 – Pendragon CEO Bill Berman admits he wrote to Lookers to discuss a merger and updates Stock Market to that effect. Move described as ‘two drunk men bumping into each other in a bar’.

April 2020 – Fraud investigation deepens. £4m charge revealed and firm says there could be more. Delays accounts to June.

March 12, 2020 – New chief operating officer Cameron Wade leaves role after only a month in post.

March 11, 2020 – Lookers delays results, saying that in final stages of preparation ‘potentially fraudulent transactions’ in one division were discovered. Promises results in April.

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November 2019 – Chief executive Andy Bruce and chief operating officer Nigel McMinn leave firm abruptly.

June 2019 – FCA launches review into sales processes at Lookers between January 2016 and June 2019. Lookers cannot ‘estimate what effect, if any, the outcome of the investigation may have’.

December 2018 – Lookers launches independent internal audit into sales process. It eventually finds ‘control issues’ in sales process where ‘improvements’ are needed. Findings handed to FCA.

James Batchelor's avatar

James – or Batch as he’s known – started at Car Dealer in 2010, first as the work experience boy, eventually becoming editor in 2013. He worked for Auto Express as editor-at-large and was the face of Carbuyer’s YouTube reviews. In 2020, he went freelance and now writes for a number of national titles and contributes regularly to Car Dealer.

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