Engineering company Lamprell has been hit with a £2.4million fine for failings that kept investors in the dark about its deteriorating finances.
The Financial Services Authority said yesterday it was too slow to react to its trading issues because systems and controls were seriously deficient. When the firm did eventually recognise the seriousness of its plight, a profit warning caused its shares to slump 57% last May.
It marked the start of a run of bad news from the Middle East-based provider of diversified engineering and contracting services to the onshore and offshore oil and gas and renewable-energy industries.
The fine is the first imposed for breaches of its kind under the FSA’s new penalty policy, linked to a company’s market value and 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 had made significant efforts to remedy the problems.