Ultra chief steps down as shares slump
SHARES IN Ultra Electronics tanked after the defence firm warned over profits and its chief executive stepped down.
The FTSE 250 firm said it was searching for a new top boss, with CEO Rakesh Sharma departing and chairman Douglas Caster becoming the group’s executive chairman.
In a double announcement, the company said annual revenues would come in at £770m and underlying operating profit at £120m, with consensus previously pointing to figures of £807m and £132m respectively.
Ultra blamed the move on the Ministry of Defence (MoD) “pausing, cancelling or delaying numerous programmes”, which had hit company orders.
Updating the market, the defence-to-energy firm said: “The majority of the group’s markets have been satisfactory; however, 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.”
On a brighter note, the company said its 2018 order book on a constant currency basis was 20 per cent higher at the end of October compared with last year.
Mr Caster said Mr Sharma has “contributed significantly” to the group’s development.