Suspect scorecards – is Serra Fronting?

Original publish date – Sun, 31 Oct 2010 14:01:52 +0000, Keith

Serra® Services is a company that provides washroom products and services. According to their web site,

“the company was established in 1985 and grown to create a competitive position in the washroom industry.  According to independent market surveys, Serra® branded products are the preferred choice in seven (7) out of ten (10) “A” Grade buildings.”

I cannot find a definition of an A grade building but it appears to be similar to premium, top class office blocks etc. For example in March 2010, Redefine (a leadng property company issued a press release that it had acquired R520 million worth of A grade buildings), and there are hundreds of such properties.

Serra ® Manufacturing is part of the Serra®Group. It manufactures the washroom equipment that Serra® Services sells to these “A” grade buildings, and probably to lower grade buildings as well. They are the preferred choice in 70% of A grade buildings.

I know they offer services that include replenishing washroom supplies like soap dispensers etc and have monthly income from some of these customers.

Yet both Serra® Services and Serra ® Manufacturing state they are EMEs – i.e each entity, Serra ® Manufacturing and Serra ® Services has an annual turnover of less than R5 million – less than R416 000 per month!

Is this suspect?

1) Note how both scorecards use the same company registration number, even though they have different company registration numbers.

2) Both certificates are produced by SEIFSA, a non-accredited agency.  The certificate produced in July 2010 is signed by the “analyst”, Charl Cilliers, but there is no signature of an officer from Serra ® or their accountant. The codes are clear: Only an accredited agency or the companies auditor of financial officer may sign EME certificates after 1st February 2010. The certificate is therefore invalid.

3) I do not believe that this company, that boasts of having its products in 70% of all A grade buildings is an EME in the first place. Note how they have even trademarked their company name. A R5 million per annum company does not do this.

This looks very much fronting, and joint blame must lie with Serra ® and SEIFSA which did not check with their accountant, or even use any initiative to decide if the company can indeed have a turnover of less than R5 million per annum. SEIFSA deserves criticism for continuing to sign verification certificates when it has no mandate to do so.

We have written to Serra ®, querying their turnover. There has been no response.

 

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