Autobytel CEO Jeffrey Schwartz: The restatement is a "distraction for senior management."
Last year, the company said that it would restate its quarterly financial statements for the second, third and fourth quarters of 2003; all of 2003; and the first and second quarters of 2004.
But last week, Autobytel said its internal audit has uncovered additional accounting errors going back even farther. Those include improper recognition of advertising revenue and failure to record state tax expenses.
Autobytel missed a Wednesday, March 16, deadline to file updated, audited financial statements with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. As a result, the company warned that its stock may be delisted by the Nasdaq exchange.
The Irvine, Calif., company has applied for another extension - to April 15 - to restate its earnings.
Autobytel last week also released preliminary, partial, unaudited financial results for 2004. The company said that it expects 2004 revenues to be between $121.5 million and $123.0 million. Net income for 2004 is expected to be between $6.9 million and $7.7 million, compared with net income of $7.4 million on sales of $88.9 million in 2003.
Autobytel sells sales leads to dealerships and advertising to automakers on its Web sites. The company also sells software.
Autobytel CEO Jeffrey Schwartz tried to give last week's news a positive spin. "We also announced that we had $52.8 million on the balance sheet and no debt," he said.
But, Schwartz said, news of the restatement is "a distraction for senior management because we want to put it behind us."
You may e-mail Ralph Kisiel at [email protected]