Next Fifteen shares drop 24% after profits warning

LONDON: Next Fifteen Communications Group's share price plunged Tuesday after it issued a profits warning due to audit issues at Bite and the departure of its finance director.

LONDON: Next Fifteen Communications Group's share price plunged Tuesday after it issued a profits warning due to audit issues at Bite and the departure of its finance director.

Investors punished the company, sending its shares down from 92 pence at Monday's close to 70 pence at Tuesday's close, a level that was little changed in early trading Wednesday morning. Next Fifteen, which owns PR firms Bite, M Booth, Text100, and The OutCast Agency, is traded on the London Stock Exchange.

The two-year low was reached after the company said finance director David Dewhurst was stepping down with immediate effect. Dewhurst will be available to ensure an orderly transition while the company searches for a permanent replacement.

Next Fifteen will announce its preliminary results as planned on November 5.

The company, which is led by chief executive Tim Dyson, said profits would be “materially short of market expectations,” but revenues would be in line.

What the company called “audit adjustments that relate to issues at Bite” could be traced back to problems that came to light a year ago.

Last October the company delayed the publication of its annual results, saying it had learned it had “been the victim of a complex fraud involving a senior member of the finance team at its Bite North America subsidiary.”

In April it said the fraud case was concluded but had resulted in total charges of more than $916,000 in the first half of its financial year.

This story originally appeared on the website of PRWeek UK.

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