Wickes suspension to go on into September

Wickes, the DIY retailer whose shares were suspended after a pounds 30m profits- overstatement, will not complete its preliminary investigations into the affair until the end of September. The lengthy inquiry means the shares will not start trading again until at least three months after details of the accounting errors first became known.

The details of the investigation were contained in a letter sent to shareholders yesterday from Wickes chairman Michael von Brentano. In the company's first communication with investors since news of the problems became public, Wickes also said it had appointed a new finance director and had begun a search for a new chief executive and non-executive directors.

Mr von Brentano said discussions were continuing with Wickes' suppliers and that until those talks have been completed it would not be possible to finalise the company's revised profit figures for 1995. Only then could the shares start trading again.

The company's relationships with its suppliers are the focus of the investigation. The letter states: "As the accounting problems are linked with supplier contributions such as volume rebates, a review of underlying arrangements with a large number of suppliers is part of the brief given to our advisers. At the same time we need to address our future relationships with our suppliers in a constructive fashion."

Wickes has written to 200 suppliers asking for details on rebate payments and other buying arrangements.

Adopting an apologetic tone, Mr von Brentano's letter concluded: "Your board deeply regrets what has taken place. We are determined to identify those responsible and to take appropriate action at all levels."

Henry Sweetbaum resigned as executive chairman in June, on the day after the accounting scam emerged. Two other Wickes' directors, Les Rosenthal and Chris Miles, have been suspended pending the completion of the investigation by Price Waterhouse.

One Wickes insider said there was no evidence so far to implicate board members. But the source was more circumspect about whether there would be legal proceedings against any other employees. "That will come out as part of the preliminary investigation," he said.

The new Wickes finance director is Bill Hoskins, former finance director at chemicals company Laporte. He will replace Stuart Stradling, who has already stated his intention to stand down. Mr Stradling will relinquish the finance director's post but remain on the board as an executive director until the investigation is completed.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Digital Optimisation Executive - Marketing

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's fastest growing, multi...

Recruitment Genius: Financial Reporting Manager

£70000 - £90000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Financial Reporting Manager i...

Recruitment Genius: Payments Operations Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They win lots of awards for the...

Recruitment Genius: Telephone Debt Negotiator

£13500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This nationwide enforcement com...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral