SNC-Lavalin vows to get to bottom of any misconduct

Thu May 3, 2012 3:22pm EDT
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By Susan Taylor and Nicole Mordant

TORONTO (Reuters) - SNC Lavalin Group Inc (SNC.TO: Quote), a Canadian construction company caught up in allegations of bribery and improper payments, vowed on Thursday to get to the bottom of any wrong-doing but said the transactions were still a mystery.

The company also reported weaker-than-expected financial results on Thursday, sending its shares lower.

But it had no further details to share about revelations that it made $56 million in payments to unknown "agents" on construction contracts that did not exist.

SNC, which held its annual meeting in Toronto on Thursday, said it was encouraging employees to come forward with any information that might help with police investigations into the alleged misconduct.

"We are committed to getting to the bottom of any violations of laws or misappropriations of funds that may have occurred," Chairman Gwyn Morgan told the company's annual meeting.

"We are hopeful that our actions will help in establishing accountability and bringing to justice anyone found to have been involved in criminal activity," Morgan told the room of about 100 people attending the meeting.

Shares of Montreal-based SNC dropped receded 2.7 percent on Thursday, extending a slide of more than 20 percent of its value since it revealed its internal probe into payments mystery in late February.

It also warned that the impact of the civil war in Libya, where it had several big contracts, would push 2011 profit below earlier forecasts.   Continued...