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British Companies Defeated Again By “Challenging Conditions”

Senior plc SNR Thank God for sterling must be the cry from the Senior boardroom as the collapsing pound saves the directors and management from further embarrassment with a  positive impact of £48m. The 9 month results are more than disappointing with group like for like revenue down 4%, the Flexonics division leading the way with a fall of 18%, due to that old chestnut, “challenging conditions” which is being pulled out of the excuses drawer more and more by managements which can not bring themselves to admit that they are incapable of rising to those challenges. Flexonics performance became even worse in quarter 3.

Quarter 4 is expected to show some improvement but the full year performance will now be lower than expected. After months of sterling decline a performance like this is just not good enough and only goes to illustrate the lack of ability in so many UK boardrooms. Resting on laurels is all very good, provided you have some laurels to rest on. Senior appears to have none. Rest assured however, not a single head will roll as long as challenging conditions remains an acceptable excuse for retaining managements which fail to deliver.

Keller Group KLR boasts that it is the world’s largest geo technical contractor but it wont be for long if it carries on producing performances like this. “Contract softness” is one of the excuses plus yet again, that old favourite”challenging environment” What exactly is contract softness. Why is management suddenly incapable of saying in English what it really means. Is it good enough for a world leading company to try and hide its inadequacies with jargon.

The APAC division is expected to produce a second half loss. The groups full year results are expected to be some 15% below current market estimates due to under performance and restructuring charges. One good feature is that the like for like order book is at an all time high and 15% above this time last year but the fall in the pound is way above that so 15% is not so brilliant after all. The company feels that it is well placed for 2017. Let us hope that sterling does not blow it off course by strengthening.

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