Vodafone (LON:VOD) is launching a tender for a new auditor to replace PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the blue-chip telco has said. The news comes after reports suggested this week that the telecoms giant was set to ditch PwC because of the audit firm’s role as administrator to Phones 4U, which collapsed four years ago.
Vodafone’s share price has fallen into the red in today’s session, having given up 1.66 percent to 157.30p as of 09:42 GMT. The shares are underperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index currently standing 0.27 percent lower at 6,693.85 points.
Vodafone looks for new auditor
Vodafone announced in a statement this morning that a company for which a number of PwC partners are acting as administrators, had filed legal action on December 18, naming the FTSE 100 telco as one of a number of defendants.
“While PWC are assessed as independent and will continue as the Group's statutory auditors for the year ending 31 March 2019, it is uncertain how this matter may evolve and whether future developments may give rise to risks to audit independence,” Vodafone said in the statement, adding that it had accordingly decided to launch a tender process for the audit of the year ending March 31, 2020.
Audit tender to conclude in February
Vodafone said in today’s statement that the audit tender process is expected to conclude in February next year, with a resolution proposing the appointment of the selected firm being put to shareholders at the 2019 Annual General Meeting.
Sky News reported earlier this week that Vodafone had asked Deloitte, EY and KPMG last year to free themselves from potential conflicts in non-audit work which could prevent them taking on the audit role.