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Auditors say no

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Tiscali's struggle for survival has been dealt a blow by auditors, who refused to sign off its accounts, citing "fundamental uncertainties" about the firm's future.

The Italian broadband group, which has about 1.8 million UK subscribers, said on Wednesday that it disagreed with Ernst And Young's conclusion.

It said it had provided all the necessary financial information, but the auditor's action means independent bean counters had worries about its accuracy. Tiscali stock sank more than 6 per cent on the news.

Last month Tiscali shares nosedived and were suspended when it emerged it had missed a repayment on its €500m debt. It has since negotiated a repayment freeze with banks, until June.

Without sign off from auditors, Tiscali must now report monthly on its finances to the Italian stock exchange. The annual results Ernst and Young had been examining showed the group lost €242.7m in 2008.

Tiscali's attempt last year to sell off its UK business to a rival such as Sky, TalkTalk or Vodafone failed. All apparently balked at the asking price, which is now likely to be falling by the day. ®

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