Engineering firm hit by £2.4m fine for failing investors

18 March 2013
By Edd Gent
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Lamprell was dealt a major setback by delays to the delivery of its Windcarrier turbine installers to Norwegian company Fred Olsen

Lamprell was dealt a major setback by delays to the delivery of its Windcarrier turbine installers to Norwegian company Fred Olsen

An engineering firm has been hit with a £2.4m fine for failings that kept investors in the dark about its deteriorating financial position.

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) said Lamprell was too slow to react to its trading issues because systems and controls were "seriously deficient" for a listed company of its size and complexity.

When the company did eventually recognise the seriousness of its plight, a profits warning caused its shares to slump 57 per cent in May 2012.

It marked the start of a run of bad news from the Middle East-based builder of drilling rigs and vessels used in the installation of wind farms.

The fine is the first imposed for breaches of its kind under the FSA's new penalty policy, which is linked to a company's market value and is expected to lead to significantly higher penalties than in the past.

There was no evidence of deliberate or reckless behaviour by Lamprell, which said it has made significant efforts to remedy the problems.

FSA director of enforcement Tracey McDermott said: "The integrity of our markets depends on listed companies making timely and accurate disclosures of material developments on an on-going basis.

"Lamprell's systems and controls may have been adequate at an earlier stage, but failed to keep pace with its growth. As a result they were seriously deficient for a listed company of its size and complexity, meaning it was unable to update the market on crucial financial information in a timely manner."

The company was dealt a major setback by delays to the delivery of its Windcarrier turbine installers to Norwegian company Fred Olsen.

Lamprell chairman John Kennedy said: "The board and management can now exclusively focus their attention on more constructive matters and on upcoming opportunities, with a view to developing and growing the company further."

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