Slater and Gordon shares are tanking

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Slater and Gordon had admitted it made errors in its annual accounts over two years.

Chairman John Skippen told the law firm’s annual general meeting that adjustments and corrections have been made to the accounts in recent months.

A short time ago, the shares were down more than 10% to $2.74. Its shares are well down on the year high of $8.07.

ASIC reviewed the law firm’s accounting practices after financial reporting errors following the acquisition in April of the professional services division of UK legal group Quindells.

The company is positioning itself as the leading personal injury law group in the UK. The law firm paid $1.2 billion for Quindells Professional Services Division in the UK.

The company has since reclassified certain balance sheet items for the last two financial years, including revenue recognition.

“While none of the changes reflect any change in the previously reported trading performance of the company, I acknowledge these errors undermine confidence in Slater and Gordon,” Skippen said today.

“Not to put too fine a point on it, these errors should not have occurred. We are bolstering our internal and external resources to assure the robustness of reporting.”

Part of that was the appointment of Bryce Houghton as new chief financial officer.

Managing director Andrew Grech told shareholders the UK business had a slower than expected start to the financial year.

However, the Slater and Gordon Lawyers business in Australia is performing well and is on track to meet its financial targets.

“We have a lot of work ahead of us in the second half but believe the full year guidance will be achieved,” he says.

Full year guidance is for total fees of $1.15 billion and earnings of $205 million.

In August, Slater and Gordon posted a 7.7% rise in full year profit to $70.7 million.

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