Asda faces pressure to ‘share draft figures’ after delay to financial results

Asda has reportedly faced pressure to share draft figures with investors following a delay to the publication of its 2023 results.

A report by The Telegraph claims that the move comes after the company's new auditor failed to sign off company accounts. It says that Asda's auditor was swapped from EY to KPMG last year when the former quit after beginning a romantic relationship with one of the retailer’s owners.

The newspaper said that the supermarket made what it describes as a rare decision to share a private presentation with investors at the end of March, with Asda revealing unaudited profits for the 12-month period.

But a source close to Asda said: "We are fully on track with this year’s audit, which will be in line with the finalised accounts we put out at the end of April – in both 2023 and 2022. When we sent out our results to media last year in March—they were unaudited."

They added that the company updates its investors quarterly, with the current audit at an "advanced stage", set to be ready by the end of the month.

The Telegraph claims that while the unaudited figures show Asda has swung back to profitability following a loss in 2022, revenue for last year was impacted by £441 million in finance costs linked to the company’s £4.7 billion existing debt.

In 2023, petrol forecourt giant EG Group, which was bought by Asda, revealed that it lost $258 million in 2022.

At the time, trade association GMB urged business and trade secretary Kemi Badenoch to encourage the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to investigate the merger, claiming that the deal could add over £7 billion to the supermarket's existing debt.

Responding to The Telegraph's claims, an Asda spokesperson said: “We made strong progress against our strategy in 2023 with significant investment in the business to drive long-term sustainable growth, while continuing to deleverage and repay debt.”

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