By coincidence, when the Air France KLM fell by more than 8% on the stock market after a new profit warning, after the stock market watchdog examined on Friday, December 19 financial communications of the group. The Sanctions Committee of the Financial Markets Authority (AMF), has screened at a public meeting, three series of complaints about the way the airline had informed the market between May 2010 and February 2011.
The representative of the AMF Board called for a fine of €1.5 million against Air France-KLM and 50 000 for Pierre-Henri Gourgeon who was his director general at the time. Virginia Adam believes breaches are found in terms of financial information. She was even more severe than the rapporteur retaining all complaints revealed by the investigation against the company and its CEO.
Specifically, the stock market watchdog calls into question the statement of 19 May 2010, with the outlook for the imprecise exercise and cryptically giving rise to differing interpretations by analysts. Most importantly, a significant numerical precision given the next day at an analyst meeting should have been the subject of market awareness.
Second complaint, more embarrassing after three releases in July, October and November 2010 revising upwards whenever the operating income target for the year ended March 31, 2011, Air France-KLM was making a profit warning on 5 February 2011. But Air France had three weeks of “accurate information” about the fact that the figures given to the market would not be achieved. An internal estimate of 18 January 2011 reported an EBIT of 44 million while the group announced in November that it expected more than 300 million. The AMF considers this delay in information completely contrary to the obligations of listed companies.
The last complaint relates to the financial statements from March 31, 2011, published on May 19. Dr Adam denounced in particular the “manipulative character” of a change in accounting estimate of aircraft paid but unused tickets which had the effect of inflating 87% operating profit of the year, without this being explained in the financial records.
The lawyers of Air France-KLM and Mr Gourgeon have worked to dismantle the prosecution, the beginning of the investigation until its interpretation by the AMF college. They denounced grievances that they do not acknowledge “neither in fact nor in law” and requested a total exoneration of the company and its former CEO. The Sanctions Committee will deliver its verdict by early February 2015.