MHA picks up FTSE 250 miner audit

MHA MacIntyre Hudson (MHA) has been appointed as external auditor to FTSE 250-listed Petropavlovsk, the Russian gold mining company which had previously lined up PwC for the role only for the Big Four firm to decline

The move follows PwC’s decision not to take up its proposed appointment, which was announced in August.

At the time, PwC cited governance concerns as the reason behind the decision not to take up its appointment as the statutory auditor for the year ending 31 December 2020.

In its resignation letter, the firm highlighted ‘the recent significant changes in the composition of the board of directors, namely the removal of the majority of both independent and executive directors, and our concerns over the governance environment and the lack of clarity as to the future direction of the Petropavlovsk group.’

Now Petropavlovsk has announced MHA, the UK member of Baker Tilly International, as its external auditor for the financial year ending 31 December 2020.

It has also said the company expects to publish the delayed interim accounts for the period ending 30 June 2020 ‘in the second half of October 2020’.

Petropavlovsk’s previous auditor, Deloitte, had been in place since 2009. The firm did not seek reappointment in the original competitive tender won by PwC, citing its length of service and concerns about the company’s ‘internal controls and systems for financial reporting’, according to a shareholder circular.

Petropavlovsk paid Deloitte $1.45m (£1.1m) in audit fees last year according to its 2019 annual report, plus an additional $737,000 (£562,000) for non-audit services.

MHA’s appointment marks the firm’s second recent FTSE 250 win, after being named as auditor to Swiss mining group Ferrexpo in July last year.

It replaced Deloitte on this audit also, with the Big Four firm resigning after only two years in post, amid concerns about delays to an independent investigation into a possible ‘misappropriation’ of corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds.

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