Slater & Gordon asks for shares to be suspended

LEGAL group Slater & Gordon has voluntarily suspended its shares on the Australian stock exchange as it prepares to declare an impairment on its UK business.

The company’s first half results are scheduled for Monday, but on Wednesday it said it had not finalised the impairment on the value of the business it acquired from AIm-listed insurance services group Quindell it bought for about AUS $1.3bn (£632m) in 2015.

In a letter to stock exchange officials company secretary Moana Weir said: “There are certain material items in the half year results which are not yet finalised, including, as foreshadowed in December, testing and assessment of the goodwill values for impairment of the UK business.

“SGH considers it appropriate that it enters into voluntary suspension so that it can manage its continuous disclosure obligations … and to avoid trading in its shares happening on a basis that is not reasonably informed.”

The company expects to announce its results for the six months to Decmber 31 between the close of trade on Friday and the start of trade on Monday.

Shares in Slater & Gordon – which is one of Manchester’s largest employers having acquired firms such as Pannone, Fentons and Russell, Jones & Walker in recent years – have slumped around 90% since the acquisition of UK firm Quindell’s professional services business.

The Australian parent company withdrew its profit guidance in December and a month later backtracked on a plan to update investors on cashflow.

Shares have plummeted from an all-time high of AUS $8.07 to 53.5 cents in January on concerns about he company’s accounts and  proposals to clamp down on personal injury claims in the UK, announced late last year by Chancellor George Osborne. The stock last traded at 83 cents.