Market report: Auditors stamp on Stanley Gibbons

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New auditors have been looking under the bonnet at stamps and collectibles dealer Stanley Gibbons — and they don’t like what they’ve found.

Shares in the AIM-listed company opened more than 20% down after new auditors BDO decided past accounts overstated revenues and the company warned that “historic reported revenue and profit will be materially reduced”. This comes as a blow to investors, including Henderson, which now has a near-30% stake.

The shares later bounced back slightly to stand 8%, or 0.8p down, at 9.32p. Stanley Gibbons joins a notorious list of AIM companies that have been forced to restate past accounts, including Quindell, now known as Watchstone, and blur Group. 

It follows the resignations of previous auditor Nexia Smith & Williamson, which handed in its notice in February, claiming the business was too risky, and nominated adviser Peel Hunt, whose job it was to regulate the company’s public statements.

The news came alongside a major management reshuffle as its Jersey-based chief executive and chief financial officer departed, replaced by London-based executives. It also said it would reconsider its offshore status.

New executive chairman Harry Wilson said the accounts and shake-up were “unsettling for all concerned”.

Although the share fallout was limited, long-suffering investors, still licking their wounds after a painful rescue placing earlier this year, will be quick to point out the stock has already crashed 95% in 12 months. The company is now worth just £17 million.

On the wider market, the Nice terror attack kept buyers on the sidelines as the FTSE 100 drifted down 27.45 points to 6627.02, with easyJet among the fallers, down 45p or 3.8% to 1126p.

More encouraging economic Chinese data dashed hopes of further stimulus, causing shares in miners, reliant on China’s growth, to fall. BHP Billiton was off 21.2p at 982.3p.  

Irish support services firm DCC improved 95p to 6765p as it confirmed first-quarter profits were “modestly ahead of expectations”.

Meanwhile, Metals Exploration, 2.5p worse off at 7.5p, has been forced to go cap in hand to its major shareholders, including the Candy brothers who control 48%, for an emergency  $5 million (£3.8 billion).

Operations at its Runruno gold mine were suspended last month, just a week after its first gold pour.

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July 15, 2016 |
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