LONDON -- The FTSE 100
But unfortunately, "going nowhere" is not something that can be said about three companies in the various FTSE indexes that headed south pretty sharply today.
A fresh profit warning from engineering contractor Lamprell sent its shares plummeting by 32% to 75 pence. That comes after an earlier warning in May put the price into nosedive, and it's now down almost 80% since then. Further delays in contracts are now expected to force the company into a "significantly greater" loss for the year than previously expected; prior to today's update, forecasts suggested a loss of 8.5 million pounds.
The firm is also in discussion with its lenders regarding its covenants and ominously told us that it "considers that changes to the leadership and senior management team are required to ensure that Lamprell begins to rebuild its reputation with both investors and customers."
FirstGroup, which had been awarded the West Coast rail franchise (pending a legal challenge from Virgin Rail), saw its shares plunge by 20% to 195 pence after it learned last night that the whole thing has been scrapped due to technical flaws being discovered in the Department for Transport's handling of the competition.
Some staff have been suspended, there will be an independent investigation, and all other franchise competitions will now be postponed -- though the DfT did stress that none of the bidders were at fault. Meanwhile, a certain Mr. Branson is reported to be in a rather better mood today.
Quadrise Fuels International, the AIM-listed developer of a low-cost alternative to heavy fuel oil for the shipping and power-generation markets known as MSAR, dropped 10% to 8 pence today. It was revealed that the firm is in the process of raising new funds via a placement of 50 million new shares at a price of approximately 7 pence per share, as recent press speculation was confirmed.
Today's fall comes after the shares had been on an impressive recovery, having doubled from less than 5 pence in the past month.
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