German payments company Wirecard has commissioned big four accountant KPMG to review questions over its accounting practices that were raised by whistleblowers and reported by the Financial Times.
The FT last week published documents that appeared to indicate a concerted effort to fraudulently inflate sales and profits. The company has categorically denied impropriety and said the conclusions drawn by the FT about the files were incorrect.
Shares in the company fell 20 per cent last week, despite the company announcing a €200m share buyback. The shares were up 2.7 per cent in early trading on Monday.
Wirecard last week faced growing calls for an external assessment of work by its auditor EY. The company’s chairman Wulf Matthias dismissed such a move on Friday, telling the Financial Times that “prima facie, EY was evaluating the matters sufficiently”.
In a Wirecard statement published on Monday, the company said its management and supervisory boards had decided conduct “an additional independent audit to clarify fully and independently all accusations raised”.
Wirecard said that KPMG would report to the Supervisory Board, would have “unrestricted access to all information on all levels of the group”. The review will begin “immediately”, and its findings will be published.
“We have complete confidence in the audit procedures performed to date and their results. We assume this renewed independent review will lead to a final end to all further speculation,” Mr Matthias said.
Chief executive Markus Braun, who is also the single biggest shareholder in the company, said in a statement that he was convinced “that confidence in our successful and strongly growing business will be strengthened as a result of this independent audit”.
The chairman of Wirecard’s audit committee on the supervisory board, Thomas Eichelmann — a former chief financial officer of Deutsche Börse AG — would “support” the audit, the company said.