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Tyco Auditor Unlikely To Certify Results By Release Date

Oct 17, 2002 | The Wall Street Journal

Tyco International Ltd.'s (TYC) outside auditor, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, is unlikely to certify Tyco's financial statements by Oct. 24, when the company is scheduled to release its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal.

Pricewaterhouse instead plans to await the results of a separate forensic audit of Tyco's books dating back to 1999, these people said. That forensic audit, an intensive accounting investigation that tries to root out any potential fraud, is being conducted by outside attorneys and a separate accounting firm, with Pricewaterhouse's cooperation, and is expected to be completed in late November.

A delay beyond next week would be unusual. In the past three fiscal years, filings show that Pricewaterhouse signed its opinion letter, indicating its audit had been completed, on the same late-October days that Tyco issued press releases announcing its fourth-quarter results for those years. Under securities rules, however, Pricewaterhouse has until Tyco's annual report is due, in late December, to complete its audit and sign the letter.

David Nestor, a spokesman for Pricewaterhouse, said his firm doesn't comment on specific clients. But he added, "generally speaking, audits aren't completed until investigations looking into potentially material matters are completed." Walter Montgomery, a Tyco spokesman, said his company has been "working closely with PricewaterhouseCoopers on completing the audit," but added that he didn't know when the audit would be finished.

PricewaterhouseCoopers has assigned additional partners to help with this year's Tyco audit, at Tyco's request.

Based in Bermuda, Tyco is a diversified conglomerate with large U.S. operations and annual revenue of about $36 billion.

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