On April 7, Chinese Ed-Tech company TAL Education (Haoweilai), disclosed that it found an employee had falsified sales during a routine internal audit. The news sent shares of good future tumbling in after-hours trading, down 17.63 percent at $45.98 as of 8:00 p.m., EST.
TAL claimed in its announcement that it had found a violation by an employee in its new “Light Class” business. The company suspects that the employee colluded with outside suppliers, falsified contracts and other documents, and inflated sales numbers.
According to the announcement, the manipulated “Light Class” business sales from March 2019 to February 2020 accounted for about 3 to 4 percent of TAL’s revenue. TAL Education’s previously reported fiscal year 2020 Q1 to Q3 results showed the company had revenue of about $2.5 billion from March 2019 to November 2019. On this basis, the falsified sales involved in the fraud were no less than $75m to $100m.
The employee involved in this fraud has been detained by police.
Founded in 2003, TAL Education started off doing primary and secondary school after-school tutoring. In recent years, TAL has been shifting its main focus to online education, and launched Xueersi Online School. TAL Education was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 2010 and surpassed New Oriental (NYSE: EDU) to become the most valuable US-listed Chinese education company in 2017.
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