Ultra chief ousted as £120m profit predicted
DEFENCE company Ultra Electronics’ chief executive has been ousted in a surprise move that was revealed in an after-hours announcement.
The FTSE 250 company said Rakesh Sharma, who has led the company since 2010, was leaving with immediate effect last night.
His departure comes after “a period of reflection by the non-executive directors on the future leadership of Ultra”, the company said.
Mr Sharma will be replaced by chairman Douglas Caster, who led the company from 2005 to 2010, until a new chief executive can be found.
His departure comes after Ultra, a specialist in naval warfare equipment such as submarine detecting sonar buoys, issued a profit warning. The company said it now expects underlying operating profit of £120m compared with market forecasts of £147m and that organic revenue would decline by about 4pc.
Warning about the trading conditions, Ultra – which derives most of its revenue in the US – said that “while the majority of markets have been satisfactory, the UK market has been difficult and has become increasingly so in the second half.
“There are mounting pressures in the funding of UK defence programmes and this has resulted in the UK MOD pausing, cancelling or delaying numerous programmes. Within the last few weeks a number of our UK orders budgeted for 2017 have been affected.”
The company also said it expected its $234m (£178m) acquisition of a US rival to be delayed. It is understood that this is due to US Department of Justice officials being swamped with work.
The news saw Ultra’s shares fall more than 11pc to £15.27. Mr Caster said: “Rakesh has contributed significantly to the group’s development into an international provider of specialist capabilities with positions on a broad number of platforms and programmes.”
Rakesh Sharma last night left his role as chief executive of Ultra and said it had “been a privilege” to work for the firm