Here's what's known: Yesterday's deadline produced certified accuracy statements from three of the ten companies on the Light Reading Index that have been included in the SEC's list of 947 public firms required to respond to the agency's June order (see Optical Companies Challenged by SEC).
So far, Corning Inc. (NYSE: GLW), Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU), and Xilinx Inc. (Nasdaq: XLNX) have filed their forms. So has Acterna Corp. (Nasdaq: ACTR), which isn't on the Index. The others, which are on a different fiscal calendar, have varying deadlines for getting their statements in. Basically, each company must file a report on August 14 or on the first date thereafter on which it's required to file an annual or quarterly report with the SEC.
Table 1: SEC Deadline Update
|Company||Affirmative certification filed||SEC due date|
|Acterna Corp. (Nasdaq: ACTR)||Y||8/14/2002|
|ADC Telecommunications Inc. (Nasdaq: ADCT)||N||9/16/2002|
|Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A)||N||9/16/2002|
|Ciena Corp. (Nasdaq: CIEN)||N||9/16/2002|
|Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)||N||10/25/2002|
|Corning Inc. (NYSE: GLW)||Y||8/14/2002|
|JDS Uniphase Corp. (Nasdaq: JDSU; Toronto: JDU)||N||9/30/2002|
|Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU)||Y||8/14/2002|
|Molex Inc. (Nasdaq: MOLX/MOLXA)||N||9/30/2002|
|Tellabs Inc. (Nasdaq: TLAB; Frankfurt: BTLA)||Y||8/14/2002|
|Xilinx Inc. (Nasdaq: XLNX)||Y||11/12/2002|
The SEC has been publishing the results of its tally on its Website at www.sec.gov/rules/extra/ceocfo.htm#j. And here's where it gets interesting. Sending in a statement alone isn't the last word. The SEC says that companies have been fiddling with the wording of the voucher document it originally requested them to use in their certifications -- leaving out one or two key financials that were supposed to be mentioned, for instance. In some instances, the doctoring has been innocently done in an effort to be specific about what's covered in the certification. But the SEC is eschewing these changes, too, as not falling within spec.
The SEC is having its lawyers review each document received to ensure that it meets the information requirements. After the legals have ascertained this, the Commission will stick a check mark in the box on the Website, marked "Statement in Exhibit A Form."
So far, only Corning and Xilinx of the companies mentioned above have had their certifications checkmark-approved.
Got that? Now here are a few caveats. First, the SEC's Website isn't up to date. Indeed, at press time it wasn't showing Acterna's or Lucent's statements at all, although both companies issued press releases about the filings they sent yesterday (see Lucent Execs OK Financials and Acterna Execs OK Financials).
A spokesman for the SEC says he isn't sure how much the site is behind on posting information about delivered filings or their qualification as meeting the SEC standard.
Some industry sources have questioned the importance of the exercise at all.
"It's way overblown," maintains Jim Jungjohann of CIBC World Markets in an email to Light Reading today. "I expect all CEOs and CFOs to sign. It's meaningless, but will help investor confidence in the coming quarterly reporting periods."
His response is typical of the sardonic stance many analysts have taken on the certification. Still, for average investors, the exercise is producing some interesting results.
At least four large service providers, for instance, have been forced to state publicly that their top executives can't vouch for their financials:
- Cable TV company Adelphia Communications Corp. (Nasdaq: ADLAC), for example, says it won't attest to its financials until an ongoing investigation into key shareholders, who are being sued by the board, is complete.
- Another cable operator, AOL Time Warner Inc. (NYSE: AOL), says a $49 million mislabeling of revenues may have occurred in its financials, delaying certification.
- WorldCom Inc. (OTC: WCOEQ) CEO John Sidgmore issued an open letter to shareholders yesterday regretting ongoing revelations of financial snafus that make his certification impossible.
- Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q) has issued a tersely worded statement disclosing ongoing investigations of its corporate doings, dated yesterday to coincide with its certification deadline.
- XO Communications Inc. (OTC: XOXO) hasn't filed anything at all, nor made any press statement regarding its financials, although its deadline was yesterday. The company didn't respond to calls about this today.
Of these, BellSouth, Comcast, Cox, Genuity, Sprint, and Verizon are "checkmark approved." So far, at least.
— Mary Jander, Senior Editor, Light Reading