July 29, 2019 / 7:53 PM / 3 months ago

UPDATE 1-Sports Direct blames results delay on eleventh hour Belgian tax bill

(Adds details, background)

July 29 (Reuters) - British sporting goods retailer Sports Direct International Plc on Monday blamed an eleventh-hour tax bill from Belgian authorities for a delay in reporting results on Friday.

Sports Direct - whose shares closed down 6.5% on Monday - also said it was unlikely the 674 million euro ($751.04 million) sum sought by Belgian authorities would have to be paid and that there was no need to make a provision for it.

Sports Direct’s results were originally due on July 18, but the company and its auditor needed more time to prepare the accounts. They were re-scheduled for 0600 GMT on Friday but, after further delays, not released until 1620 GMT.

The company said the payment notice it received from Belgian authorities on July 25 - a day before results were due - referred to VAT, penalties and interest but provided no details on how the figures had been arrived at or what they related to.

Grant Thornton, the company’s auditor was informed of the bill after a detailed explanation behind the notice was received by the company late on July 25, requiring it to assess the matter before the completion of the audit, Sports Direct said.

The information requested by the tax authorities, most of which was related to tax on goods transported through Belgium could be dealt with by providing further documents, the company said.

“Sports Direct is fully committed to working with the Belgian Tax Authority on this matter,” it said. ($1 = 0.8974 euros) (Reporting by Bhargav Acharya in Bengaluru, editing by Deepa Babington)

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