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Brazil's Americanas shares plunge more than 75% on 'accounting inconsistencies'

By Paula Laier and Alberto Alerigi SAO PAULO (Reuters) -Shares in Brazilian retailer Americanas SA fell more than 75% on Thursday after its chief executive officer resigned citing...
Brazil's Americanas shares plunge more than 75% on 'accounting inconsistencies' © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The Americanas store logo is seen in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil May 10, 2018. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes/File Photo
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By Paula Laier and Alberto Alerigi

SAO PAULO (Reuters) -Shares in Brazilian retailer Americanas SA fell more than 75% on Thursday after its chief executive officer resigned citing the discovery of "accounting inconsistencies" totaling 20 billion reais ($3.9 billion).

Outgoing CEO Sergio Rial, who replaced Miguel Gutierrez less than two weeks ago, said in a conference call with investors he had "clearly found some very important distortions" and signals of a lack of transparency from the previous management.

In a pre-market auction that lasted most of the session, the stock dropped as much as 90%, before opening down 76.25% at 2.85 reais.

Chief Financial Officer Andre Covre, who had just joined Americanas as well, also left the firm long controlled by three Brazilian billionaires who founded 3G Capital.

Rial attributed the inconsistencies to differences in accounting for the financial cost of bank loans and debt with suppliers.

The outgoing CEO said Americanas would likely need a capital increase, though noted he didn't expect a short-term impact from the inconsistencies on its cash position.

Several analysts put their recommendations on the firm under review, while Brazil's securities regulator CVM said it had started two probes into the retailer to investigate the issues.

Separately, Americanas said an independent committee was being formed to investigate the matter that would include former CVM director Otavio Yazbek.

Earlier in the day, XP (NASDAQ:XP) Investimentos, Bradesco BBI, Banco Safra and Itau BBA all placed Americanas under review following the news, while analysts at Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) moved it to "Not-Rated" from "Overweight," saying an expected operating turnaround had become clouded.

Americanas in a securities filing late on Wednesday said it estimated the cash impact of the inconsistencies was not material, although internal inquiries and work by independent auditors would be needed to determine the impact of them on its financial statements.

"Even after the meeting with the company to clarify points mentioned in the filing we still do not have enough visibility to detail the financial impact the revisions should have on the company's figures," analysts at XP Investimentos said.

Analysts at Santander (BME:SAN) and JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM), who rated Americanas "Neutral" and "Underweight" respectively, also forecast a major negative reaction to the news.

"In sum, we see the company's cash flow situation, which was the reason why we recently downgraded the stock to UW, as much more delicate than anticipated," JPMorgan said.

PwC, Americanas' auditor, declined to comment on the accounting inconsistencies referred to by Rial.

($1 = 5.1600 reais)

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    EUR/USD 1.0814 ↑ Sell  
    GBP/USD 1.2631 ↑ Sell  
    USD/JPY 149.93 ↑ Buy  
    AUD/USD 0.6566 ↑ Sell  
    USD/CAD 1.3513 ↑ Buy  
    EUR/JPY 162.14 Neutral  
    EUR/CHF 0.9526 Neutral  
    Gold 2,041.75 Sell  
    Silver 23.188 ↑ Sell  
    Copper 3.8697 Neutral  
    Crude Oil WTI 77.28 ↑ Sell  
    Brent Oil 82.62 Neutral  
    Natural Gas 1.706 ↑ Buy  
    US Coffee C 188.03 ↑ Buy  
    Euro Stoxx 50 4,759.75 ↑ Sell  
    S&P 500 4,975.51 ↑ Buy  
    DAX 17,068.43 Sell  
    FTSE 100 7,719.21 ↑ Buy  
    Hang Seng 16,743.50 ↑ Buy  
    Small Cap 2000 2,003.65 ↑ Buy  
    IBEX 35 10,038.20 Sell  
    BASF 46.045 ↑ Sell  
    Bayer 28.77 Neutral  
    Allianz 249.40 Sell  
    Adidas 181.12 ↑ Buy  
    Lufthansa 7.339 ↑ Buy  
    Siemens AG 168.72 Neutral  
    Deutsche Bank AG 11.954 ↑ Sell  
Mua/Bán 1 chỉ SJC
# So hôm qua # Chênh TG
SJC Eximbank7,630/ 7,800
(80/ 50) # 1,762
SJC HCM7,630/ 7,850
(40/ 30) # 1,812
SJC Hanoi7,630/ 7,852
(40/ 30) # 1,814
SJC Danang7,630/ 7,852
(40/ 30) # 1,814
SJC Nhatrang7,630/ 7,852
(40/ 30) # 1,814
SJC Cantho7,630/ 7,852
(40/ 30) # 1,814
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