Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A)
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By Heather Haddon and Allison Prang
Kraft Heinz Co. said it is restating a host of its financial results dating as far back as 2016, after it determined they included certain misstatements.
The food company also said an investigation revealed misconduct by several staffers in its procurement division. A number of staff in that division were let go as part of the probe.
"The findings from the investigation did not identify any misconduct by any member of the senior management team," a Kraft Heinz spokesman said Monday.
Kraft disclosed in February that the SEC was investigating the procurement division's accounting practices. It said on Monday that it had received an additional subpoena in regards to a write-down of some of its brands on March 1. The company "has been responsive to the ongoing document requests," it said.
Shares were little changed in early trading Monday.
Investors have been watching for updates from Kraft in the three months since it disclosed the investigation and said it was writing down the value of some of its brands by $15 billion. Lead investor Warren Buffett has since said that Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and 3G Capital overpaid when they helped form Kraft Heinz through a merger in 2015.
Mr. Buffet defended the company during his annual meeting over the weekend, but reiterated that deals can sour by paying too much.
Kraft has yet to file its full-year financial report for 2018 while it has conducted the investigation into the accounting problems. It said Monday it has entered into an agreement with its lenders to file its financial statements by May 14.
The company said it wouldn't file its results of this year's first quarter on time.
The Kraft spokesman said the food giant was pleased that the investigation was wrapping up. "The company is taking action to improve our policies and procedures and will continue to strengthen our internal financial controls," he said.
Kraft now faces lawsuits in the wake of the investigation and write-down. Several pension funds are suing in regards to the company's plunging stock. Trading firm Timber Hill has filed a case detailing allegations of insider trading.
Attorneys for Kraft have agreed to have the two cases consolidated under a U.S. District Judge in Chicago. A first appearance is scheduled for May 16. "The company intends to vigorously defend against these lawsuits, " Kraft said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday.
The company is restating its financial statements for its 2016 and 2017 annual reports. It is also restating quarterly periods in its 2017 fiscal year and the year-to-date and quarterly periods that ended Sept. 29 of last year.
Kraft didn't find that the problems were material, but involved the incorrect timing of reporting costs and rebates in contracts, it said in the filing.
Kraft said it decided on May 2 that those financial statements couldn't be relied upon because of the misstatements, which it said were small.
The company said it is restating them "due to the qualitative nature of the matters identified in the investigation, including the number of years over which the misconduct occurred and the number of transactions, suppliers, and procurement employees involved."
It said its preliminary findings show that net income for 2016, 2017 and 2018 will change by less than a percentage point.
Kraft said it has adjusted what its cost of products sold has been in recent periods, adding that the misstatements are related to when some costs were recognized.
Write to Heather Haddon at firstname.lastname@example.org and Allison Prang at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
May 06, 2019 11:01 ET (15:01 GMT)
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