C&C fined €90,000 by financial regulator

Tue, Feb 5, 2013, 00:00

Drinks group C&C has been fined € 90,000 by the Central Bank for failing to keep up-to-date records on its “insider” list, the second time the financial regulator has taken action against a non-financial services firm .

Between January 2nd, 2008 and January 29th, 2009, the Dublin- and London-listed firm was found to be in breach of the insider list requirements of the Market Abuse Directive.

It failed to “regularly and promptly” update its insider list with the identity of people working for C&C who had access to inside information.

It also failed to state on the list the date of each and every occasion on which it was updated.

In addition, the group failed to maintain a complete list of principal contacts at firms acting on behalf of C&C, such as advisory firms which had access to inside information.

C&C said the breach was due to “administrative procedures” and that the company has since “implemented a number of changes to its practice and procedures”.

It is understood the fine of €90,000 imposed by the bank is related specifically to breaches of the group’s insider list. The bank would not comment on whether or not there was a link to another inquiry.

Share dealings

It was reported in 2011 that Philip Lynch, a former non-executive director of C&C Group, was the subject of an investigation by the bank into share dealings at the drinks group.

This inquiry is believed to centre on two specific purchases of shares in the company in October 2008, a month before a new management team was announced at the company.

A spokesman for C&C said Mr Lynch, who stepped down from the board in November 2012, had not discussed an investigation with the board.

The fine levied on C&C represents the second time the bank has imposed a financial penalty on a company that it does not regulate, and is indicative of a new rigour in the bank’s approach in taking enforcement action.

Market announcements

In November 2012 it imposed a sanction of €10,000 on clinical trials group Icon for failing to make timely market announcements.

Since January 31st, 2012, the bank has been responsible for overseeing all listed companies on the Irish Stock Exchange under the Market Abuse Directive.

The function had been delegated to the stock exchange, but the bank brought the role back in-house in line with European regulations.

In a statement released by the bank it said: “The penalty imposed reflects the importance of the requirement to properly maintain and update insider lists.

“It also reflects the Central Bank’s view as to the seriousness of the breaches outlined above.”

Derville Rowland, head of enforcement at the bank, said that insider lists were important “as a tool in the prevention and/or detection of market abuse through the illegal use of inside information”.