June 13, 2018 / 6:53 AM / 11 days ago

Swiss exchange seeks sanctions against Meyer Burger in accounting dispute

ZURICH, June 13 (Reuters) - The SIX Swiss stock exchange said on Wednesday it is seeking sanctions against solar panel equipment maker Meyer Burger Technology, contending the company overstated key financial figures in 2016 and 2017.

Meyer Burger said separately that it disputes the Swiss bourse’s conclusions and vowed to contest the matter in proceedings at the exchange’s sanctions commission.

SIX Exchange Regulation said Meyer Burger treated charges related to closing its U.S.-based Diamond Materials Tech unit in 2017 as extraordinary, even though site closures and restructurings that had taken place in recent years included the subsidiary.

“This closure therefore neither qualifies as an extremely rare nor as an unpredictable event and should hence be recognised in the operating result and not the extraordinary result,” SIX Exchange Regulation said. “As a consequence of these alleged deficiencies, key figures such as EBITDA and EBIT were overstated in both the 2016 annual and the 2017 interim financial statements.”

The exchange also cited an alleged error in Meyer Burger’s 2017 interim financial statement’s cash flow statement in connection with a bond repurchased early.

Meyer Burger rejected the exchange’s allegation “in its entirety”, contending its treatment of the matters in question was appropriate.

“The procedure and discretionary decisions that Meyer Burger applied in its fiscal year 2016 and half-year 2017 financial statements concerning the recognition and presentation of the events mentioned... were all applied according to the framework concept of Swiss GAAP FER and closely monitored and audited by the company’s auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers Ltd.,” the company said.

The Swiss exchange said the sanctions proceedings were open ended. It did not describe potential remedies, should the sanctions commission decide Meyer Burger acted inappropriately. (Reporting by John Miller)

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