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Sports Direct asks government about auditor problem

Sports Direct has reportedly asked the UK government to clarify what it should do if it cannot appoint a new auditor.

Grant Thorton has decided not to seek reappointment as the company’s auditor and will exit the role from 11 September, the date of Sports Direct’s annual general meeting.

Sports Direct could struggle to appoint a replacement, as the retailer says it has previously failed to persuade rival accounting firms to tender for its audit contract, the Financial Times reported.

Grant Thornton has audited the company’s accounts since 2007. Its resignation comes after the release of Sports Direct’s annual results was delayed because of a €674m (£624m) Belgian tax claim.

The Sports Direct Group suffered a 6% fall in underlying EBITDA to £287.8m in the 52 weeks to 28 April 2019, compared with £306.1m in the same period the previous year. Group revenue at Sports Direct, which also controls French Connection and Flannels, was up 10% to £3.7bn in the same period.

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