On Monday, the consultant announced a pre-tax loss of £2.5m, which led to a 12p fall in the value of its shares to 8.5p. Earlier this year the price peaked at 60p.
The company put its losses down to uncollected fees, particularly from clients in the Middle and Far East, as well as one-off costs from restructuring over the summer. This involved closing its US business, its executive recruitment arm and the cancellation of its contract with a public relations firm.
High-Point Rendel’s four board members and up to five senior employees have agreed to forgo their salaries with immediate effect and have also provided loans to help maintain cash-flow. They will all receive the money that they are owed when the company has reduced its overdraft.
Paul Shackleton, an associate director at the company’s financial adviser Bridgewell, said High-Point Rendel had suffered from being a minnow on the stock exchange. He said: “The problem is that High-Point Rendel works on projects for governments and multinational companies all over the world, meaning that its cash-flows are lumpy. On the London Stock Exchange there is not a lot of latitude on when to report – so with a small company there can be an awful lot of volatility.”
The consultant is in talks with a financial institution over taking it off the stock market and going private because of fears that it could be the subject of a hostile takeover bid as its share price is so low.
The company also intends to cut down its overdraft, which stands at £3.8m, before 28 February to ensure that the facility is renewed.