So summer is with us at last, dear reader. You’ll be relieved to know I’ve managed to wean myself off my workaholism with the help of therapeutic visits to Ascot, Wimbledon, the British Open, the cricket and the polo, and nothing but the very occasional bottle of Bolly to keep me going.
So imagine my reaction when I returned to my desk this week to be met with the awful truth about Jarvis. The company’s share price had actually improved ahead of the declaration of a whopping £240m loss last Friday, on the expectation that they would receive backing from their banks. But the firm has hardly received a wholehearted endorsement from the City. Jarvis said its year was difficult, which is like describing Napoleon Bonaparte as pushy. It was a 365-day horror show.
Now the former City darling is in debt up to its eyeballs and is continuing only at the sufferance of the Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays, which have asked for 5% of the company in the form of warrants and 10% in equity. The only hope for Steve Norris et al is that they can flog off the bits of the business that they can get a price for.
Hopefully Jarvis’ crash diet will be more successful than the one I was planning to start this summer. It’s so hard when there’s my favourite Chateaubriand on the menu at my local luncheon venue. That and the splash of the red stuff of course.
So what else has been out there to interest me? Well, over on the alternative investment market there is Interior Services Group, which has had something of a time of it in the past year or so, what with management changes and a recent profit warning. I’m told the latter centres on a dispute over the
Is Carillion's building business up for sale? And if so, is Ray O'Rourke interested?
Hunch of the week
fit-out of the Mailbox building in Birmingham for the BBC. Now that the corporation is on a cost-cutting programme led by new director general Mark Thompson, what are the chances of getting their cash? Well, the good news is that the stock has stayed steady despite all this. And it hasn’t stopped fund manager Fidelity Investments from building up its stake in the firm.
A more solid performer of late has been Alfred McAlpine, despite its recent spat with Sir Robert over the family name. It reported rather flat profits for the half year to 30 June, down 8%, but has a healthy £3.2bn order book, which gives me hope that the 261.75p price may be worth a flutter.