United Food to change auditors to save on professional fees

The One Raffles Quay building, which is home to auditor Ernst & Young.
The One Raffles Quay building, which is home to auditor Ernst & Young. PHOTO: ONE RAFFLES QUAY

United Food Holdings said it plans to change its auditors in a bid to save nearly 50 per cent in fees.

The producer and supplier of soya bean products and animal feed intends to change its auditors from Ernst & Young (EY), Hong Kong to HLB Hodgson Impey Cheng Limited and Foo Kon Tan LLP.

EY has been the auditors of the company for more 15 years since Aug 31, 2000, said United Food in a Singapore Exchange filing last Friday.

The audit firm was re-appointed at United Food's last annual general meeting on April 25 last year.

The company said it has been in discussion with EY on proposed professional fees for audit services for the 2015 financial year, which ended on Dec 31.

However, both parties were not able to reach an agreement on the quantum of professional fees.

EY had quoted an amount which would result in a substantial increase from the audit fees paid in the previous year, said United Food.

So, the directors have decided that it was time for the company to change its auditors, as part of its "ongoing efforts to manage its overall business costs and expenses amidst the challenging business climate".

The change will help the company save about 48.4 per cent in audit fees based on the proposed audit fees for the 2015 financial year.

"(It) may enable the company to benefit from fresh perspectives and the views of another professional audit firm and further enhance the value of the audit," said United Food.

EY has given notice of its resignation as the company's auditors on Jan 12 and the joint auditors have given their consent to be appointed as the new auditors on Feb 4. This will be subject to the approval of shareholders at a Special General Meeting to be convened later.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 22, 2016, with the headline 'United Food to change auditors to save on professional fees'. Print Edition | Subscribe