Indianapolis-based trucking firm Celadon Group switches auditors

Indianapolis-based Celadon Group Inc., which continues to work through a host of accounting and financial issues, has replaced its auditor.

The trucking company disclosed Friday that it had dismissed BKD LLP as its independent auditor and hired Grant Thornton LLP to take its place. Grant Thornton was founded in Chicago in 1924 and has 59 U.S. offices.

In May 2017, Celadon revealed that BKD had raised questions about a complicated joint-venture arrangement that involved the sale of leased equipment. As a result, the company said at the time, its last 18 months of financial statements should not be relied upon

In October 2017, the company revealed that it was under investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

In April, Celadon said its investigation had revealed problems much older and deeper than expected. The company also said that it had likely overstated some of its earnings by as much as $250 million during a three-year period that ended in 2016. 

Since last year, Celadon has replaced most of its senior leadership team, including its CEO and its CFO. The company has also refocused on its core trucking business and exited several other lines of business.

Celadon now says it hopes to release audited reports sometime within the next nine months. The company’s goal is to issue earnings for fiscal years 2017-19, Chief Financial Officer Thom Albrecht told IBJ on Thursday.

Albrecht said Celadon had become frustrated because BKD’s work on the reissuance project had slowed, and recently it became clear that the company was not going to meet a hoped-for reissuance date of March 31.

Also, Albrecht said, BKD’s original contract only covered auditing work through the 2018 fiscal year. Celadon’s 2019 fiscal year began on July 1.

“The board felt like it was in everyone’s best interest to go with a different auditor,” Albrecht said.

As a result of its financial reporting issues, Celadon was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange this year. The company now sells shares on the over-the-counter exchange. Share traded Thursday morning at 87 cents each, down from the mid-20-dollar range in 2015.

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