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Monday, January 30, 2023
HomeEconomy'We never had knowledge', say Lemann, Telles and Sicupira about scandal in...

‘We never had knowledge’, say Lemann, Telles and Sicupira about scandal in Americanas

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The trio of reference shareholders of Americanas, Jorge Paulo Lemann, Marcel Telles and Carlos Alberto Sicupira, who together own 31% of the company, released a note this Sunday (22) in which they claim that they were never aware of and would never admit any maneuvers or dissimulations accounting in the company.

The note —the first public manifestation since the outbreak of the accounting scandal, on the 11th— was anticipated by the Brazil Journal website.

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Shareholders say that Americanas was managed by executives considered qualified and of unblemished reputation in the last 20 years, and that it had one of the largest and most respected independent auditing firms in the world, PwC.

“Like all other shareholders, creditors, customers and employees of the company, we firmly believed that everything was absolutely right,” say the three shareholders.

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“We reaffirm our commitment to work for the recovery of the company, as soon as possible, focused on guaranteeing a promising future for the company, its thousands of employees, partners and investors, and on reaching a good understanding with creditors.”

According to the note, since the company disclosed the material fact to the market, on January 11, making public the existence of approximately R$ 20 billion in “inconsistencies in its accounting”, several efforts have been made.

At no point do the three talk about the possibility of putting money to capitalize the company — something that creditor banks have been pressuring them to do. They claim that, as shareholders, they too have been “hit by losses”.

The trio claims that the company’s independent committee will be in a position to investigate the facts that led to accounting inconsistencies, as well as to assess any possible break in symmetry in the dialogue between auditors and financial institutions.

“We express once again our commitment to full transparency and total collaboration in everything within our reach to clarify all the facts and circumstances”, say the three.

“We deeply regret the losses suffered by investors and creditors, remembering that, as shareholders, we have been hit by losses.”

The trio also claims that their performance has always been based, over the decades, on ethical and legal rigor. “This was decisive for the position we reached in a lifetime dedicated to entrepreneurship, generating jobs, building businesses and contributing to the development of the country.”

Due to the accounting scandal in which R$ 20 billion were no longer recorded as debts on the balance sheet, Americanas filed for judicial recovery last Thursday (19).

The retailer has a debt of approximately BRL 43 billion with 16,300 creditors, making it the fourth largest request for judicial recovery in the history of Brazil.

The company said this Saturday (21) that its operations were not affected by any cash restrictions and that there was no change in customer demand, product supply and payment flow, according to Marcio Chaer, director of operations and relationship with the American consumer.

See full note:

On January 11, 2023, by means of a “material fact”, Americanas SA made public the existence of significant inconsistencies in its accounting. Since then, always with transparency and immediacy, several efforts have been made to correctly deal with the challenges facing the company today.

We use that same clarity to clarify categorically and for the sake of the truth that:

1) We were never aware of and would never admit any accounting maneuvers or dissimulations in the company. Our performance has always been guided, over decades, by ethical and legal rigor. This was decisive for the position we reached in a lifetime dedicated to entrepreneurship, creating jobs, building businesses and contributing to the development of the country.

2) Americanas is a century-old company and over the last 20 years it has been managed by executives considered to be qualified and of unblemished reputation.

3) We had one of the largest and most respected independent auditing firms in the world, PwC. She, in turn, made regular use of circularization letters, used to confirm Americanas’ accounting information with external sources, including the banks that operated with the company. Neither these financial institutions nor PwC ever reported any wrongdoing.

4) Therefore, like all other shareholders, creditors, customers and employees of the company, we firmly believed that everything was absolutely right.

5) The company’s independent committee will have all the conditions to investigate the facts that resulted in the accounting inconsistencies, as well as to evaluate the eventual break of symmetry in the dialogue between the auditors and the financial institutions.

6) We once again express our commitment to full transparency and total collaboration in everything within our power to clarify all the facts and circumstances.

7) We deeply regret the losses suffered by investors and creditors, remembering that, as shareholders, we were affected by losses.

8) We reaffirm our commitment to work for the recovery of the company, as soon as possible, focused on guaranteeing a promising future for the company, its thousands of employees, partners and investors, and on reaching a good understanding with creditors.

Jorge Paulo Lemann, Marcel Telles and Carlos Alberto Sicupira

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