In more bad news for British billionaire Sanjeev Gupta, an Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) review has found that several GFG Alliance companies have not lodged financial statements and reports on time.
Communication from ASIC to Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick shared with the Whyalla News reveals that ASIC has been in contact with GFG Alliance regarding the outstanding lodgements and ‘intends to further review these materials once they are lodged’.
“Part 2m:3 of the Corporations Act 2001 sets out financial reporting obligations for relevant entities and failure to comply with these obligations is a strict liability offence,” reads the letter sent from ASIC to Senator Patrick.
Senator Patrick said GFG Alliance must be prepared to lodge financial documents on time.
“All companies need to be particular about complying with Australian law. Companies must be transparent about about their financial obligations,” he said.
“I will be following up the reporting issues with ASIC at Senate Estimates next week.”
A GFG Alliance spokesperson said management were aware of reporting obligations and currently had a step plan in place to have these filings brought up to date ‘as soon as possible’.
“GFG Alliance purchased these businesses out of administration. The Administrators were relieved from having to file statutory accounts by ASIC, so no statutory accounts were filed during the administration,” they said.
“As a consequence, upon acquisition of the businesses GFG had to catch up on filing historic statutory accounts for 12 companies for FY16 & FY17.
“Arrium used to file one set of consolidated accounts for the entire group – and financial systems were set up to facilitate this. Accordingly the systems needed to be reconfigured to allow for reporting on an entity by entity basis.
“Unfortunately this has placed a significant burden on our internal resources. There have been resource constraints that we have now addressed and changes in a number of key senior finance roles have also delayed the process.
“We have advised ASIC and they are aware of our plan to bring these accounts up to date.”
On a positive note, Senator Patrick said he had spoken with a Whyalla business on Monday morning that had received further payment for their work.
Mr Gupta released a letter to GFG suppliers and the Whyalla City Council on Friday saying he would develop a Supplier Credit Facility to fast track payments to local contractors.
“I want Mr Gupta to succeed, everyone wants him to succeed. There are still some issues to sort out, (but) we wish him all the best and godspeed to Mr Gupta moving forward,” Senator Patrick said.
GFG Alliance plan to have all outstanding bills to Whyalla suppliers paid by March.