Debtor balances were overstated and fraudulent expense claims submitted said the report
(), the car dealership, has taken a £19mln charge following an investigation by Grant Thornton into fraud and accounting irregularities.
Around £4mln of the charge relates to the initial phase of the investigation, which focused on one of the group’s operating divisions.
That found misrepresented and overstated debtor balances in respect of supplier bonuses and fraudulent expense claims.
The remaining £15m stems from incorrect or inconsistent application of policies, processes and accounting standards.
Grant Thornton’s report also highlighted areas where certain financial controls and some behavioural and cultural aspects require strengthening.
Lookers added that although it was making good progress in resolving the investigation there remain a number of outstanding issues and until such time as these issues are resolved and have completed their audit, it is not possible for the company to confirm the full impact.
“However, the board believes that 2019 will remain profitable at the underlying profit before tax level,” said today’s statement.
Lookers has delayed its full-year results until the fraud investigation is concluded.
If the results are not published by the end of June, Lookers said its shares will be suspended until the result of the investigation.
Shares rose 3.5% to 20.5p.