17 August 2007 | Antony Barton
UK engineering company IMI has launched an investigation into whether its agents paid bribes to secure contracts.
It announced yesterday in a statement that it is probing actions in its severe service division, which produces safety valves for power stations. It said possible payments may be in breach of the law and the company's policies and practices.
Its early indications are that the payments involve a number of commission agents, which represent about 20 per cent of severe service business, or around £70 million of sales. Typical total commission payments across the division have been around £3 million to £4 million each year.
The statement said: "The company is committed to the highest ethical standards and has retained external counsel and forensic accountants to conduct a thorough independent investigation, which will result in appropriate action being taken, including a number of employee suspensions."
IMI has informed the relevant authorities and said it would co-operate fully with their enquiries.