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Why Quindell PLC Shares Have Been Suspended

Late last year a suspension of Quindell (LSE: QPP) shares would have caused panic, even if some of us thought it could have happened any day. But today it’s nothing to get upset about, as the company announced it “…has requested the temporary suspension of trading in its shares from AIM“, with the shares now frozen at 124.75p.

What’s it all about?

It’s all part of the company’s rewriting of history in the wake of the PwC report into its past accounting practices, with PwC saying they “…were largely acceptable but were at the aggressive end of acceptable practice“.

Quindell is in the process of restating its past performance, and with its Professional Services Division (PSD) now a discontinued business it says the process will be “largely of historical interest only” — though with the firm having revealed today that an FCA investigation is now underway, it will also be of interest to those of us who want to see the free-for-all farce that is AIM’s idea of enforcing openness and transparency cleaned up too.

Quindell reckons that “The impact of these changes will materially impact previously reported results for the year ended 31 December 2013 and the six months ended 30 June 2014“, and that’s what’s really important to shareholders today.

Blind

Quindell is currently valued at £555m, which is less than the cash it got for PSD, so if there’s any actual value in the remaining parts of the business then it could be fill-yer-boots time for investors bold enough to jump in.

But up until today, they’d have been going at it totally blind as there were no figures at all that could be trusted to be an accurate representation of the state of business. Now, once we get the restated accounts along with FY 2014 figures, at least there’ll be something quantifiable.

More than a few heads were scratched over Quindell’s accounting for its acquisitions too, and the company says it has also commenced a review of that.

FCA probe

Tucked away at the end of today’s announcement, there was a snippet that some of us have been hoping to see for some time.

Quindell told us that “on 23 June 2015, the Financial Conduct Authority informed the Company that it has commenced an investigation under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 in relation to public statements made regarding the financial accounts of the Company during 2013 and 2014“.

That’s good news, but it’ll be little comfort for those who piled in last year around the peak of 650p on the back of the company’s bullishness.

Still, overall, this is another step towards putting Quindell’s controversial past behind us, and a step closer to providing the kind of transparency that really should be a matter of course in one of the world’s leading stock markets in the 21st century.

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Alan Oscroft has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.