Deloitte quits as auditor of Issa brothers’ firm

Zuber (left) and Mohsin Issa
Zuber (left) and Mohsin Issa

GLOBAL consulting major Deloitte has quit as auditor of EG Group, owned by Indian-origin British billionaires Mohsin and Zuber Issa.

The exit, reportedly because of governance concerns, happened just days after the brothers became Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to business and charity.

However, EG Group has said that “there have been no disagreements on any auditing or accounting matters”.

Early this month, Issa brothers and private equity group TDR Capital have agreed to buy the supermarket chain Asda from Walmart for an enterprise value of £6.8 billion and plan to roll out more smaller stores.

But, Deloitte’s decision to quit as EG Group’s auditor “with immediate effect” is a new twist in the tale of Asda takeover.

According to a Telegraph report, the development raises additional questions about what discussions took place before standing down.

“Presumably the company either declined to address the concerns of its auditor, or at least wasn’t able to do so to Deloitte’s satisfaction, otherwise the accountant would have stuck around for the next exciting chapter of their empire-building,” the report said.

The siblings, from Blackburn, founded petrol station operator EG Group nearly two decades ago which has grown exponentially, with interests in the UK and US.

Britain’s highly competitive supermarket sector has been upended this year by the Covid-19 crisis which sparked a jump in sales – and costs – as shoppers stocked up on goods during lengthy lockdowns.

While Asda’s sales increased, the chain still lagged market leader Tesco, Sainsbury’s, and smaller rival Morrisons.