“Big Four” challenger Grant Thornton becomes an inspector at Porsche Holding

Logo at Porscheplatz in Stuttgart

The holding company of the Porsche and Piëch families is also based here.

(Photo: IMAGO/Arnulf Hettrich)

Dusseldorf In the future, the balance sheets of Porsche SE will be certified by the Düsseldorf-based auditor Grant Thornton. Both companies confirmed this on Thursday. Porsche SE is the parent company of Volkswagen, which is listed in the Dax. Grant Thornton is already taking over the audit of all interim reports in the current financial year.

The advice had already declared a few weeks ago that it had won a Dax mandate. Now it is also known which group this affects. In addition to BDO, Grant Thornton is a second medium-sized provider in the field of auditing to break through the dominance of the “Big Four”. PwC, Deloitte, KPMG and EY almost completely control the auditing business in the leading index Dax 40.

As number five in the industry, BDO had previously succeeded in winning a Dax mandate in the final examination for the first time. As of this year, the Hamburg-based company will be responsible for the balance sheet attestation for the software group SAP.

BDO had also tried to win the mandate of Porsche SE in order to consolidate its role as a challenger to the “Big Four”. Both medium-sized providers were recommended by the audit committee of the supervisory board of Porsche Automobil Holding. Grant Thornton prevailed in the final round of the selection process.

The Porsche and Piëch families have bundled their majority shares in Volkswagen in Porsche SE. The family holding does not run any operative business should not be confused with the sports car manufacturer Porsche, which is also listed in the Dax and continues to be checked by EY – which also applies to VW.

Porsche SE will change auditors again after 2019

The change at Porsche SE comes as a surprise. Because it was only in 2019 that the holding company was looking for a new auditor and appointed market leader PwC. By law, listed companies are only obliged to replace them every ten years.

Upon request, Porsche named regulatory reasons as the motive for the renewed tender. What is meant by this: Due to the recently tightened legislation, auditors have to further restrict other services for the client. PwC acts as a consultant for the Volkswagen Group, over which Porsche SE watches.

Grant Thornton had already reached the final round of the examiner selection at Porsche Holding in 2019, but was left behind at the time. “In recent years we have greatly expanded and strengthened our expertise and our service portfolio,” said Michael Häger, Head of Grant Thornton Germany. “We now qualify as an auditor who can also comprehensively support a DAX 40 group.”

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With a turnover of 180 million euros most recently, Grant Thornton is the number ten German auditor. The company is part of the worldwide Grant Thornton network and thus also has testing capacities abroad.

Winning the mandate at Porsche SE is above all a prestige success for the Düsseldorf-based company. From a purely economic point of view, this order is not one of the most attractive in the Dax: PwC recently received a fee of 800 million euros, which is lower in the Dax comparison.

The interplay in the top stock market segment thus continues. By the end of 2022, the majority of the Dax 40 companies will have changed their auditor. Only the healthcare companies Sartorius and Qiagen and the consumer goods groups Beiersdorf and Zalando have yet to be filled.
More: Competition with the “Big Four”: auditor Mazars wants to win a mandate in the Dax

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