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Lazard facing Hastie losses after portfolio company submits falsified accounts

28 May 2012

Australian private equity firm Lazard is facing losses on its investment in engineering company Hastie as the company risks being wound up after submitting falsified accounts to meet its profit forecasts.

Lazard’s 25 per cent stake in the Australian company, which it acquired as part of a A$160m recapitalisation last year, is under threat after what Hastie described as a A$20m “accounting irregularity” by a single employee.

All 44 subsidiary branches of Hastie’s business have been placed under administration following the revelation, and the business will be wound up if a deal with creditors cannot be reached.

Australia’s four biggest banks are also facing writedowns of almost A$250m, with Australia and New Zealand Banking Group understood to be owed $150m of that, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Other lenders include the Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank and Westpac.

Hastie provides technical services to building and infrastructure schemes across the globe, and has established operations in Australasia, the UK and the Middle East.

It employs more than 7,000 people in 110 locations.

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