MyTravel Group Plc Fined
July 14 2005 - 03:00AM
UK Regulatory (RNS & others)
Financial Services Authority
14 July 2005
For immediate release
14 July 2005
MyTravel fined #240,000 for Listing Rule breach
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has today fined MyTravel Group plc
(MyTravel) #240,000 for a breach of the Listing Rules in July 2002.
The FSA found that MyTravel breached the Listing Rules by failing to update the
market following a change in its own expectation as to its performance for the
financial year ended 30 September 2002. In July 2002, MyTravel UK (a division
of MyTravel) identified balance sheet exposures of #24.3 million which had been
unaccounted for in the previous year's published accounts. MyTravel decided that
no announcement needed to be made to the market, in the expectation that these
exposures would be off-set by certain non-recurring gains to be made in
financial year 2002 (FY02).
Hector Sants, FSA Managing Director for Wholesale Business, said:
"The failure by MyTravel to update the market promptly about the exposures
it had discovered was a breach of the Listing Rules.
"MyTravel's discovery of the exposures led to a change in its expectation
as to its performance. The failure to announce this change denied the
market the opportunity to assess the likely impact of these exposures on
MyTravel's share price. The FSA regards the disclosure obligations as a
fundamental protection for shareholders and vital to the smooth operation
of efficient, orderly and competitive markets.
"The need to inform the market was especially relevant in MyTravel's case
where the prevailing business environment was challenging and any
announcement in relation to accounting issues would have come as an
unwelcome surprise to investors."
In November 2001 MyTravel announced record operating profits for the year ended
30 September 2001 (FY01) of #147.4 million and indicated that it expected
profits for FY02 to be broadly similar.
In late 2001 and early 2002 MyTravel faced challenging business conditions in
common with the rest of the travel industry following 11 September 2001. On 7
February 2002 MyTravel reported a poor first quarter and announced that losses
for the first half of FY02 would be significant. This was confirmed when first
half losses of #122.3 million for the six months ended 30 March 2002 were
reported by MyTravel on 22 May 2002. The company indicated at this stage that it
was uncertain if business would recover sufficiently to meet the forecast profit
for the financial year. On 23 July 2002 MyTravel had announced that trading
across all divisions was in line with the previously announced expectations.
During the early part of FY02 MyTravel UK carried out a review of its accounting
records which identified unaccounted for exposures totalling #24.3 million.
MyTravel's then Group Finance Director and Chief Executive Officer became aware
of the exposures at the end of July 2002.
Although the exposures were unknown to the market, the view was taken on or
about 31 July 2002 by the Chief Executive Officer and Group Finance Director,
that the exposures would be off-set by certain non-recurring gains to be made in
the remainder of FY02 and therefore no announcement needed to be made to the
market. No professional advice on the matter was sought from the firm's
external advisers. In the event, on 28 November 2002, MyTravel announced a loss
in FY02 of #72.8 million.
The FSA has not taken any action against any of the individual directors. The
FSA accepted that the Group Finance Director, Chief Executive Officer and the
other directors of MyTravel were not knowingly concerned in the contraventions.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
1. The full text of the Final Notice, dated 14 July 2005, is available on
the FSA website. This includes the background to the case, the
relevant statutory provisions and the regulatory requirements
contravened and the factors taken into account by the RDC when setting
the level of the fine.
2. Financial penalties are not treated as income by the FSA. They are
applied for the benefit of authorised persons (or the issuers of
securities admitted to the official list) as appropriate, and so given
back to the industry in subsequent years.
3. MyTravel is a listed company whose shares are traded on the LSE.
4. Paragraph 9.2 of the version of the Listing Rules, which applied at
the time, states that:
"A company must notify a Regulatory Information Service without delay
of all relevant information which is not public knowledge concerning a
(a) in the company's financial condition;
(b) in the performance of its business; or
(c) in the company's expectation as to its performance;
which, if made public, would be likely to lead to substantial movement
in the price of its listed securities."
5. Under section 91(1) of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 if
the FSA considers that an issuer of listed securities has contravened
the Listing Rules, it may impose a penalty of such amount as it
6. FSA took on new powers under the Financial Services and Markets Act
2000 on 1 December 2001. The disciplinary sanctions available to the
FSA for breaches of the Listing Rules that take place on or after
1 December 2001 include a fine or a public statement.
7. The FSA has taken action for Listing Rules breaches in the following
cases since 1 December 2001 - Marconi, SFI, Sportsworld, Universal
Salvage, Shell and Pace Microtechnology.
8. The FSA wrote to listed retail companies, on 15 December 2004,
reminding them of their duties under the Listing Rules to keep the
market informed without delay of any developments in their businesses.
9. The FSA regulates the financial services industry and has four
objectives under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000:
maintaining market confidence; promoting public understanding of the
financial system; the appropriate degree of protection for consumers;
and fighting financial crime.
10. The FSA aims to promote efficient, orderly and fair markets, help
retail consumers achieve a fair deal and improve our business
capability and effectiveness.
This information is provided by RNS
The company news service from the London Stock Exchange