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Proofreader wanted at Farmer Brothers …

We know Farmer Brothers (FARM) peddles coffee to the restaurant and cafeteria set, but it may be time to lay off the joe over there — at least while preparing the corporate filings.

Yesterday, the Torrance, California, purveyor of coffee (and related products) to institutional food-service outfits amended the 10-K it had just filed on Monday. The reason? As the 10-K/A put it in simple terms:

“This Amendment is being filed for the purpose of correcting certain typographical errors.”

As it turns out, those errors were numbers. And while they weren’t enormous, one of the line items was loss from operations. There, the company managed to reflect a profit from operations of $2.6 million in the quarter ending September 30, 2009 — when in fact the correct figure was a loss of $2.5 million. The company also overstated the loss in the quarter ended June 30 of this year by the same amount, about $5 million.

The other errors were smaller, and generally made the company’s finances look worse than they apparently are: An offsetting change in interest expense was reported as $1.5 million instead of $700,000; loss from operations for the year ended June 30 was $39.2 million, not $39.7 million; and accrued workers’ compensation liabilities were $1.35 million, not $1.66 million.

Major? Perhaps no. Unnerving? Yes. Especially given that the figures appeared in the company’s 10-K, which the auditors are supposed to give the once-over, and one of the errors was in the company’s consolidated statement of operations for the year. (The company’s auditor, for the record, is Ernst & Young. There doesn’t appear to have been any change to the company’s disclosures on internal controls, which suggests that management concluded the slip-ups weren’t all that serious in the grand scheme of things.)

We realize that typos happen — we make our share of them here at footnoted, for sure. Still, we’d recommend that Farmer Brothers find a proofreader. And maybe switch to decaf.

Image source: Theo Francis

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