Falling Apart Folli Follie Jewelers Struggles to Survive

June 11, 2018

ATHENS – With is finances being probed by Greek authorities and suspended from the Athens Stock Exchange (ASE,) luxury jewelry and accessory maker Folli Follie said it needs time to finish its own audit and promised to fix any “operational failures” and stay alive.

The Greek-owned company, with a presence in 25 countries, is also being sued by the Hellenic Market Commission for failing to provide financial data as demanded, which could result in felony charges if an indictment is brought.

The company’s shares lost 70 percent of their value after irregularities were noted and it was suspended by ASE amid reports inaccurate data had been supplied over its real financial standing which the company denied, although it also backed the suspension.

Local media reported last week that Folli was dragging its feet on signing a contract with the audit firm that would investigate its finances at the regulator’s request.

Folli said in a bourse filing over the weekend that the news was “inaccurate” and that it needed time to prepare “such a demanding and complex task,” the Reuters news agency reported.

“We will do everything in our power to provide all required information and we are ready to remedy any operational failures, if any,” Folli said in the filing.

A new internal audit committee, a prerequisite for signing the contract with Ernst & Young for the audit, was set up last week, it added.

Folli is 35 percent owned by the Koutsolioutsos family and had sales of 1.4 billion euros ($1.65 billion) last year, with Asian operations accounting for more than two-thirds of turnover, but where it’s facing fierce competition.

Its Chief Executive George Koutsolioutsos said the company has been under an “unprecedented attack” and would fix any mistakes that a new strict audit might reveal.

New York-based QCM, which previously said it held a short position on Folli shares, had also said in its report that it was concerned about Folli’s finances.


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