By Matthew Henry

NEWCASTLE: Betta Stores Limited (BSL) has again delayed releasing its half yearly trading results to the Newcastle Stock Exchange (NSX) for the six months to December 31, 2005, this time blaming data inconsistencies uncovered by an internal accounting review for the ongoing hold-up.

BSL’s financial results for the period were originally due on 16 March this year, but since then the company has made numerous explainations for delaying their publication, including one on May 3 assuring the NSX the results would be available within four weeks.

In a statement to the NSX released today, BSL chief financial officer, Scott McLennan, said a recent integrity review of the group’s accounting practices identified a number of inconsistencies in data relating to BSL’s corporate retail stores during previous years.

“It has taken considerable time and extra resources, including the assistance of IBM and Professional Advantage, to reconcile data underlying the accounts for the previous years to assist in finalising the half year financial report,” said McLennan.

According to McLennan, Australian accounting standards require errors discovered in previous periods to be corrected in the comparative information presented in the latest results. BSL will further delay posting its results until the data is amended, he said.

“Without doing so, the financial report for the period ended 31 December 2005 would be inaccurate and not represent a true and fair view, as the directors are unable to confirm the opening balances for the six months.”

In April this year, BSL predicted it would post a loss of up to $2.3 million for the period.

This time, McLennan did not give the NSX a timeframe in which to expect the finalised results, but said the process has so far taken more time than the company had expected.

“Should the deficiencies in the accounting system that caused the errors in the first place not allow the company to quantify the errors in a reasonable timeframe or at a reasonable cost, the directors may consider applying to ASIC for relief under the Corporations Act,” he said.