Saturday 17 March 2018

Grafton drops KPMG after 22 years as auditor, appoints PwC

Construction firm Grafton Group has changed its accountancy firm
Construction firm Grafton Group has changed its accountancy firm

Paul O'Donoghue

Irish construction firm Grafton Group has dropped its long-time auditor KPMG in favour of rival accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The move ends KPMG's 22-year audit relationship with Grafton, for which it received €986,000 in fees last year, according to Grafton's 2014 annual report. KPMG received just over €5.4m in audit fees from Grafton between 2010 and 2014.

Grafton said the appointment would be effective for the financial year ending December 2016.

"The board would like to thank KPMG for their service as auditor to the group over a long period and looks forward to working with PwC in the future," Grafton said.

Grafton is headed up by Gavin Slark and owns the Woodies DIY chain and more than 550 builders' merchants across Ireland, Britain and Belgium.

The company, which has a market capitalisation of over £1.6bn, is the latest in a string of Irish firms that are expected to change auditors in the face of new EU rules requiring listed companies to rotate their auditors every ten years, although this can be extended to 20 years if the audit is put out for bid. The rules apply from June 2016.

The intention of the move is to break the stranglehold that the so-called 'Big Four' accountancy companies - KPMG, PwC, Deloitte and EY - have on auditing listed company accounts.

Financial services firm International Financial Group, whose headquarters are in Ireland, recently announced that it was putting its auditing contract out to tender, while several other companies, such as DCC and Kerry Group, are expected to do so shortly.

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