DS Smith says £1.3bn deal not affected by accounting probe

BRITISH packaging company DS Smith yesterday insisted its £1.3bn takeover of Sweden’s SCA Packaging is on track.

FTSE 250-listed DS Smith took control of its competitor in June, but the completion accounts have still not being signed off and the firm is understood be disputing the final purchase price. Reports suggest DS Smith is seeking a €180m (£146m) discount on the original figure.

“Clearly, there is a negotiation in an acquisition like this. You start by disagreeing, and then you meet at a point where you agree. It is completely normal,” a spokesman for DS Smith told City A.M.

He said the current schedule is “ahead of prior expectations”.

Berkshire-based DS Smith also confirmed that last month it called in forensic accountancy firm Alix Partners to investigate allegations regarding the preparation of the completion accounts for the acquisition following an anonymous tip-off.

Yesterday it said the investigation found the allegations were “without substance”. Despite this, the findings were forwarded to the Serious Fraud Office.