UGL's Richard Leupen says that any claim the company misstated results should have been taken to regulators. Photo: Michel O'Sullivan
UGL has described as ‘‘vexatious’’ a claim by a former employee that it had cooked the books, saying that the claim has ‘‘no substance’’.
‘‘It’s a vexatious claim,’’ UGL chief executive Richard Leupen told journalists when discussing the group’s December half earnings earlier Monday.
‘‘There is no substance to it.’’
Earlier on Monday, News Ltd publication The Australian, reported that a former property services chief within UGL, Robert Shibuya had lodged a claim in a US court that he had been sacked for complaints about the company ‘‘cooking of the books by misstating financial results and manipulating employee bonuses so as to deceive investors’’.
‘‘If it is a regulatory [issue] then go to the authorities’’, Mr Leupen said, going on to say there was no indication that a regulatory complaint had been lodged.
For the full year, UGL reported earnings would come in at the lower end of its $120 million net profit forecast, and pointed to continued weak domestic demand, citing "challenging market conditions".
"Continued project delays, increased competition and margin compression in our engineering division impacted in the half," it said.
"We are repositioning UGL for these softer market conditions with further significant restructuring initiatives underway to protect margins."
With the planned demerger of its property services arm DTZ, UGL said it would continue to evaluate unsolicited proposals to acquire the business while continuing with its separation of the business for a possible spin-out.
UGL has lifted its net profit by 13.5 per cent to $29.5 million in the December half after a heavy round of restructuring charges as it cuts costs and prepares for the sale or spin-out of its DTZ property arm.
Revenue rose 5.6 per cent to $1.99 billion.
Restructuring charges totalling $17.7 million were booked in the half.
No interim dividend was declared.