A string of companies owned by industrialist Sanjeev Gupta have delayed publication of their accounts as the tycoon is growing his business too fast for bookmakers to keep up.
Almost two dozen subsidiaries linked to Gupta have used clever accounting to give them more time to file the information which they are required to supply to the authorities.
Read more: Gupta's GFG Alliance pens $320m steel deal
Private businesses are forced to send their annual accounts to Companies House every year, nine months after the end of their financial year.
However, by shortening its accounting period by a day from, for instance, 31 March to 30 March 2018, companies are able to add another three months to their deadline.
City A.M. found 23 companies where Gupta was a director which used this accounting sleight of hand to buy themselves more time.
It comes as Gupta’s company GFG Alliance completed a series of takeovers in the past two years, adding 17 companies, and their subsidiaries, to its portfolio.
Many of the businesses have been bought out of financial distress, meaning the focus was on turning them around to save around 5,000 jobs, the company said.
“Often we have found that those businesses have come with a large number of registered companies many of which are small or dormant or simply holding companies or even cost centres with underinvested accounting functions and capabilities that have been slow in providing information,” a spokesperson said.
“We are working to catch up and are investing into central office functions, external advisors and administrative improvement within our group businesses.”
The company said that the accounts of some of these companies will mean little in isolation as they are only one part of a longer supply chain.