Lendlease’s search for a new auditor is on hold until at least February and the ASX-listed developer, builder and investor is keeping KPMG – its auditor since 1958 – on standby for another year’s work, chairman Michael Ullmer said.
Lendlease chairman Michael Ullmer. Jesse Marlow
Lendlease put the tender process for a new audit services provider – a process undertaken after pressure from the Australian Securities and Investment Commission for companies to put the role up for grabs more frequently and ensure more independence among auditors – on hold in May.
Prior to that, PwC – subsequently dumped by Westpac and cutting more than 4 per cent of its now 8000-strong workforce as fallout from its tax leaks scandal persists – was considered the favourite to win the Lendlease contract. After the scandal, however, sources said it was ruled out of contention.
Lendlease paid KPMG $9 million in financial year 2023 for auditing, assurance and some non-audit services.
Speaking after Lendlease’s AGM on Friday, Mr Ullmer told The Australian Financial Review no decision had been taken to exclude any firm.
“As you would have seen, there are negative issues that have come out from each of the firms one way or another, either in Australia or globally,” he said.
But equally, the firm was not going to rush, he said.
“What is happening in that audit market at the moment, with essentially a whole lot of reviews and inquiries going on, we felt it would be premature to progress any further that process until things settle down,” he said.
“We didn’t want to be in a position where you select a firm and then discover two or three months later there’s some sort of announcement about some sanctions coming on the firm, or some other thing emerges. SoRead more on afr.com