Tongaat plumbs new depths as accounting practices questioned
There has been no suggestion anything Deloitte has signed off on will be part of the accounting practices being reviewed, but it seems possible
Tongaat Hulett's share price fell to R16.54 in intraday trade on Monday, its lowest level since the early 1990s, as shareholders continued to react to last week’s announcement by the new CEO that certain past accounting practices were being reviewed. PwC has been appointed to assist with the review. Those of a nervous disposition may regard this as a “mini-me” version of the Steinhoff debacle, which saw PwC investigating financial accounts that were drawn up by Deloitte. As it happens, Deloitte is also Tongaat’s external auditor, and has been for 80 years. Of course there has been absolutely no suggestion, so far, that anything Deloitte has signed off on will be part of the accounting practices being reviewed. But given the long relationship, it seems possible. While much of the focus is on the billions of rand of land sales that propped up the income statement in recent years, it is likely that the review will also include a close look at the group’s biological assets, such as can...