A criminal investigation has been launched by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) into alleged bribery, corruption and money laundering at high-tech aerospace and defence manufacturer Chemring.
The investigation will focus on subsidiary Chemring Technology Solutions, following a self-report.
The voluntarily released details relate to the behaviour of intermediaries on two specific historic contracts: the first was awarded prior to Chemring’s ownership of the business concerned; and the second for a contract in 2011. Details of the self-report are included in Chemring’s full-year results today, in which the manufacturer states that neither contract is considered material to the group.
“It is too early to predict the outcome of the SFO’s investigation,” stated Chemring. “The group continues to co-operate fully with the SFO in its investigation, and will provide a further update as and when appropriate.”
A key investigation for the SFO in the aerospace sector was that of Rolls-Royce, with a £497.25m deferred prosecution agreement settled last January. The agreement means that Rolls-Royce must be conditions about its future compliance, and monitoring, or face prosecution.
Airbus is also being investigated by the SFO, into allegations of fraud, bribery and corruption, relating to the behaviour of third-party consultants. The investigation was opened in July 2016.
Chemring saw revenues climb 15% to £547.5m in 2017, with statutory profit before tax of £4m, down 50% on the previous year. Its dividend shot up to 3p per share, compared with 1.3p in 2016. Net debt fell to £80m from £87.6m.