External auditor quits role with franchise’s embattled parent company but promises ‘smooth transition’.
NZ Automotive Investments (NZAI) has been dealt another setback after announcing its external auditor has resigned with immediate effect.
The owner of the 2 Cheap Cars franchise released a statement to the NZX on August 17 revealing Grant Thornton is walking away from its role with NZAI and other entities controlled by the company.
David Page, chief executive of NZAI, says: “Grant Thornton will co-operate with the incoming auditors as appropriate to ensure a smooth transition.
“The board of directors, which will be reconstituted on August 21 with the resignation of four current directors and the appointment of two new independent directors will work through the process of appointing a new external auditor in due course.”
The loss of its external auditor is the latest development in a turbulent few weeks for the business.
NZAI’s commercial bank announced this month it is unable to provide any assurance of support for the company’s trade finance and motor finance facilities beyond their current expiry dates.
The advice is understood to relate to boardroom upheaval at the business rather than NZAI’s financial position.
All three non-executive directors and executive director Eugene Williams announced they were resigning en masse in July after citing a breakdown of trust with major shareholder David Sena.
Two potential replacements put forward by Sena then withdrew their consent to be nominated as directors, while the market regulator questioned the planned appointments of Michael Stiassny and Gordon Shaw.
NZ RegCo has now approved the independence of the pair under NZX listing rules and they will stand for election at NZAI’s annual shareholders’ meeting on September 2.
Other changes at the company will see Page leave at the end of September after his resignation was announced on July 1, and former chairman Karl Smith and independent director Michele Kernahan quit the board in April this year.