A Closer Look At Bausch & Lomb

BAUSCH & LOMB, ADMITTING it inappropriately recorded sales and profits in late 1993, said on Jan. 25 its accounting practices were being investigated by the SEC. The statement followed a Dec. 19 BUSINESS WEEK article questioning the way B&L booked revenues and profits from an unusually large shipment of contact lenses to distributors in the final days of 1993. Many distributors, threatened with the loss of B&L business unless they accepted the lenses, say they were promised they wouldn't have to pay for the products until they were sold. Accounting experts quoted by BUSINESS WEEK said that such shipments should not have been recorded as sales. According to B&L, the yearend shipments resulted in a $10 million net profit. B&L, which in December denounced the BUSINESS WEEK story as "false" and "ridiculous," now admits some bookings were inappropriate, but believes they were not material to 1993 results.