Updated from 8:30 a.m. EST
Lernout & Hauspie
, the Belgian maker of voice recognition software that has been under scrutiny by investors and regulators over its accounting practices, said Thursday that it would restate its financial results from the past two and a half years.
At the same time, the company reshuffled its top management in an effort to gain confidence among investors that it is trying to put its ongoing troubles to rest.
Shares in Lernout plunged in trading on the
, a European stock exchange heavy in technology companies. Shares were lately trading at $4.20, off over 33%. Shares reached $3.70 Thursday, a 52-week low. On Wednesday, shares of L&H closed down 83 cents at $6.11.
Nasdaq stock market
halted trading in L&H early Thursday, and asked the company for "additional information," according to a statement. It last traded at $6.22 on the Nasdaq.
The company said it will restate results from 1998, 1999 and for the first half of 2000, "as a result of certain errors and irregularities." In addition, L&H said its revenue for the third quarter would be at least $40 million less than the previously published range of $165 million to $185 million.
The news came as a result of a company-wide audit, according to a statement. The company announced Aug. 13 that it had commissioned the audit in response to allegations raised in
The Wall Street Journal
. Then, in late September the company acknowledged that it was being
investigated by the
Securities & Exchange Commission
for alleged accounting improprieties.
As for the management changes, John Duerden, appointed chief executive officer on Aug. 24, has become sole managing director. Carl Dammekens, the current chief financial officer, will take another position in the company, and Duerden will seek out a new CFO.
Roel Pieper, former L&H's vice chairman, has become chairman. The company's two founders, Jo Lernout and Pol Hauspie, have stepped down from their positions as co-chairmen and managing directors.
In the article, the
said that although L&H said sales from Korea accounted for more than half of total revenue for the first quarter of this year, some Korean companies that L&H claimed as customers said they did no business with the company.
has repeatedly raised
concerns about the company's accounting practices.