Embattled Clive Peeters recovering from massive fraud

ASX-listed retailer reports a break-even operating profit as asset recovery recovers kicks in

ASX-listed retailer, Clive Peeters (ASX:CPR), has reported a break-even operating profit for the half-year ending December 31 despite being hit by a multi-million dollar accounting fraud.

In late July 2009, the retailer was forced to request a trading halt after unveiling an operating profit loss of $11-12 million for the full financial year to June 30, 2009.

The company then took legal action against one of its staff members, alleging they had faked payroll accounts and transferred money into a personal bank accounts to buy real estate.

Clive Peeters managing director, Greg Smith, said the results over November and December 2009 were positive because they were made during a very tough environment amid uncertainty and bad publicity.

“We consider this to be a very creditable result, having regard to the material impact that the previously reported misappropriation events continued to have on our trading stock supply over the months of July 2009 to October 2009,” he said in a statement.

“We are pleased that our programme of sale of residential properties that were purchased with monies misappropriated from the Company is in line with our forecasts and well ahead of the plan in terms of timing.”

The statement went on to state that bank debt had been dropped to $8.5 million in December 2009 with further debt reductions planned in the second half of 2010 and that there would be no interim dividend for shareholders.

“The Company repeats that FY 2010 will be a year of consolidation, before store rollout resumes from a platform of a stronger balance sheet,” it said.