Large accelerated filers — U.S. companies with a market capitalization of at least $700 million — have struggled to meet a new Securities and Exchange Commission filing deadline, according to institutional research firm Glass, Lewis.
Beginning this year, these companies must file their annual report with the SEC within 60 days after their fiscal year-end, 15 days earlier than the previous deadline. Glass, Lewis found that of the roughly 1,300 large accelerated filers with a calendar year-end, 81 did not file by March 1; last year, only 55 companies requested more time.
The widening options-backdating scandal has played a major role in these filing delays. According to Glass, Lewis, 28 large accelerated filers stated they delayed their annual report to investigate their historical stock-option practices; 19 have already disclosed a restatement. Subtract those 28 companies from the 81 that missed the March 1 deadline, and the number of late filings would have fallen, year on year, the research firm noted.
The stock-option scandal also caused 19 other companies to delay their annual filing due to previously announced options-related restatements. In addition to restatements and stock-option difficulties, the most commonly cited reasons for delays were business combinations/sales and unresolved accounting issues; 6 companies blamed the new deadline or their filer status.
Glass, Lewis also called to task a number of “chronic late filers” that missed the deadline for all their quarterly and annual reports in both 2005 and 2006. They include Fannie Mae, BearingPoint, R&G Financial, Key Energy Services, and Doral Financial. In addition, the research firm broke out late filers by auditor: 29 are represented by Deloitte & Touche, 22 by PricewaterhouseCoopers, 13 by Ernst & Young, and 12 by KPMG.