Troms energy firm in more trouble

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Troms Kraft, the largest energy company in Northern Norway, has reported accounting irregularities at its Swedish subsidiary, Kraft & Kultur, that suggest revenue has been inflated by as much as NOK 1.5 billion (USD 270 million). It’s the latest revelation of financial trouble for the firm in the past year.

Oddbjørn Schei, chief executive of Troms Kraft, told newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) that he suspects Troms Kraft “has been cheated. I’m furious.” Questions remain, however, over the level of control company managers and board members have had over the company, which also was found to have illegally given financial support to the Center Party last year.

Kraft & Kultur’s former chief executive, Boris Benulic, resigned earlier this month and now says he takes “full responsibility” for the losses that have emerged at the firm. His successor, Jan Inge Johnsen, told Swedish news bureau TT that “it looks like manipulation of the accounts involved expected income that was never invoiced.”

Schei insists the company accounts were audited by professionals every year, and neither he nor Troms Kraft’s can understand how the  “manipulation” of Kraft & Kultur’s could have persisted for years without being discovered.

Police are investigating. Troms Kraft is a public utility with 60 percent of its shares held by the county of Troms and 40 percent by the municipality of Tromsø. It reported total revenues of 3.3 billion in 2010.

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