Fulmar alert sends shares into reverse

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The printing company Fulmar lost nearly 10 per cent of its value yesterday after warning profits for the year would fall short of market expectations.

The printing company Fulmar lost nearly 10 per cent of its value yesterday after warning profits for the year would fall short of market expectations.

The south London based business, which prints book covers and reports and accounts, blamed the alert on a "further worsening" of weak market conditions for commercial print.

In addition, it said trading had been affected as it had not seen the "normal seasonal upturn" in book jacket and cover printing in the fourth quarter of the year.

Shares in the company dropped 7.5p to close at 71p after it predicted pre-tax profits, before exceptional items, would be no less than £2.2m for 2003. That is nearly £1m worse than the figure recorded a year before and forecasts from its broker Arbuthnot Securities. Analysts there had been looking for a profit of about £3.1m for the year.

Mike Taylor, the chief executive, said: "Nine years out of ten, we experience a surge in demand for jackets and covers ... but this year it was very late coming and when it did come it only lasted a couple of weeks. I guess the publishers could see perhaps that the books weren't running off the shelves quite so quickly as they have in previous years."

Fulmar said yesterday that "in the absence of unforeseen circumstances" it planned to propose an unchanged final dividend of 3.4p a share, making 5.2p for the year in spite of the profits warning.

The alert came as the company announced it had also agreed to sell a property in Lewes, East Sussex for a minimum of £1.6m although it could eventually get up to £4m in total.

The property, which has been vacant since May of 2002 after a previous tenant rationalised its business and relocated, has been sold for residential development. The initial consideration of £1.6m in cash will go toward cutting its borrowings, which stand at about £12m.

Comments