Eurofins Scientific shares fell sharply on the stock market on Monday, after a note published by the American hedge fund Muddy Waters accused the French scientific laboratory group of financial irregularities.

On the Paris Bourse at around 09:05 GMT, Eurofins fell by 22.9% to 40.68 euros, heading for its biggest session decline in 24 years. The share price had previously been suspended for around forty minutes.

Muddy Waters, which recommends a "short" position on the stock, points out that Eurofins has, in recent years, raised and then consumed billions of dollars supposedly to finance its growth. "At best, Eurofins has a parasitic controlling shareholder who has been siphoning money from the company for two decades. However, we believe that Eurofins' account statements may contain significant overstatements of earnings, cash balances and other asset values," said the hedge fund.

"Eurofins is optimized for malfeasance. We don't know exactly how far the rot goes, but we suspect it extends to sales, earnings, cash and other asset account reporting," Muddy Waters concluded.

Eurofins did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Reuters was unable to immediately verify the allegations contained in the report.

(Written by Augustin Turpin with Olivier Sorgho, edited by Blandine Hénault)