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Freedom Foods extends trading halt to late October

Freedom Foods will remain in a trading halt until October 30, as investigations into financial activity at the business continue and a search for new leaders commences.

In a statement to the ASX on Wednesday, the company advised that it was extending its voluntary suspension on the basis that investors need more clarity on the company’s financial position and considered this “a prudent and realistic timeframe”.

“The Board of Freedom Foods Group is of the view that investors require comprehensive and up to date information as to the impact of the historical issues identified and the financial position and outlook of the Company, and that trading in the securities of the Company should not recommence until more clarity can be provided,” the company said in the update.

The decision follows a tumultuous few weeks for the food business in which the chief executive officer and chief financial officer both resigned, heightening concern among shareholders.

Chief executive Rory Macleod resigned on June 29, days after taking unexpected ‘leave’ and less than a week after the departure of CFO and company secretary Campbell Nicholas.

The troubled food business entered into a trading halt and, soon after, enlisted the help of PwC and Ashurst in investigating potential fraudulent activity after announcing a $60 million write-down from expired milk.

As part of its investigation, the company will complete the audited June 30 annual accounts and determine appropriate guidance on the outlook for FY21, including any ongoing impacts of Covid-19.

Freedom Foods said it will reduce the period of suspension if it’s possible to achieve the objectives sooner. The company said it will continue to keep investors advised of developments.

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