Tesco shares fall on lawsuit

Tesco shares have fallen as the retailer faces a new claim for damages from an investor, in relation to its 2014 profit overstatement.

Tesco shares fall on lawsuit

A spokesman for the supermarket group said it was aware of a claim filed by Manning and Napier, the US fund manager, and would be filing a defence shortly.

Manning and Napier declined to comment.

However, the Financial Times reported that the fund manager said it suffered losses of $212m (€197m) because of Tesco’s accounting irregularities.

Tesco is already defending a £100m claim from a group of 125 institutional investors. That claim was filed last October.

Back in September, 2014, Tesco had issued a statement to the stock exchange, saying that, during its final preparations for an interim results announcement, it had identified a £250m overstatement of first-half profit, mainly because it booked commercial deals with suppliers too early.

The discovery led to the suspension of eight senior members of staff, sent Tesco’s shares tumbling, and plunged the company into the worst crisis in its near 100-year history.

Three former senior executives of Tesco, accused of fraud and false accounting, are due to stand trial in September.

Christopher Bush, who was managing director of Tesco UK, Carl Rogberg, who was UK finance director, and John Scouler, who was UK food commercial director, were charged by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), last September, with one count of fraud by abuse of position and one count of false accounting.

Late last year, it emerged that Philip Clarke, the former chief executive of Tesco, and Kevin Grace, its former group commercial director, would not face charges.

The SFO’s more than two-year-long investigation into Tesco remains active.

The profit overstatement, identified three weeks after Dave Lewis took over as chief executive, from Mr Clarke, was later raised to £263m.

In November, 2015, Tesco agreed to pay $12m to settle a US shareholder lawsuit.

The retailer denied wrongdoing in agreeing to settle.

Tesco shares yesterday fell as much as 3% in London, valuing the retailer at almost £15.48bn

Despite sliding by around 8% this month, the shares have nontheless risen by 21% since this time last year.

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