Relevant? Certainly – when trading statements are as bland as they have been recently one has to get one's controversy somewhere. Take support services group Interserve as an example. The most exciting thing happening there was a quantification of the group's retained pension obligations. YAWN.
I was relying on group chairman Mike Bottjer to Inter-serve up (sorry) some juicy news. And what did I get? "Our record forward order book and an improving trading environment give us confidence for the future." Mike! Get a few glasses of a cheeky St Emilion down you and loosen up!
But fortunately for him, the City chaps and chapettes are as dull as elf-actor Orblando Bland. Somehow they got themselves feverishly worked up over this news and Interserve's share price soared 8.3% to 260p by close of play on Friday.
Ah yes. Share prices. That's what we're here for, isn't it? So let's pick on another one. Eeny, meeny …
ROK. Chief executive Garvis Snook – surely the best name in construction – was good enough to tell us: "Our proven strategy of successfully rationalising and integrating acquisitions while delivering strong organic growth …" I could go on quoting Garv, but I'm afraid I may lose the will to live.
It may have been a drab trading statement, but McAlpine’s high margins make it a tasty number
Hunch of the week
The City, however, was interested in the statement, especially as it emerged that Rok's £1.4m acquisition of several contracts and offices of failed contractor Ballast was set to boost turnover by about £65m. Rok's share price rose 6% to close last week at 317.5p.
Which brings me to Alfred McAlpine. (Can I still call it Alfred?
I do get confused.) Chief executive Ian Grice kindly informs us that the company is "a strong, blended business". More PR drabness, but a not-to-be-sniffed-at 1.4% rise in its share price, to 298p, nonetheless.