Stuart Doughty may not have had the excitement of paragliding 200 m over the eastern Mediterranean last week, but the Costain chief executive certainly would have a smile on his face. The company's share price reached 44.5p by close of play Friday – a 3.5% rise over the course of the week.
It appears that an upbeat annual general meeting statement impressed the chaps and chapettes in the City. Chairman David Jeffries announced that the company's building division was doing well and is in negotiations on projects worth £250m that will provide a turnover of about £70m this year.
There was also a hint that the company is close to completing the process of rebalancing its balance sheet, meaning that it will be able to pay a dividend for the first time in several years.
The AGM statement of support services group Capita had less of an impact. Its share price dropped 0.6% to end the week at 310p. This was despite announcing "very encouraging trading conditions" and confirming that it had retained all of the clients of Symonds, the project manager it acquired in February for just under £30m.
ISG is looking lean and mean – not unlike a certain grilling machine
Hunch of the week
May I say how sorry I was to hear the news contained in another AGM statement, that of contractor ROK. In it, my old chum Bob Carlton-Porter confirmed his intention to retire next year, when he will have clocked up nine years as chairman. This sentiment of disappointment was clearly shared by investors, with Rok falling 3.3% last week to finish at 383.5p.
Things get no easier for support services group Jarvis. Last week Jarvis and Network Rail admitted liability for all legally justified claims brought by the bereaved and injured from the Potters Bar crash of May 2002. Unsurprisingly, the Square Mile soon sold more shares in Jarvis, leaving the price to tumble 13.1% to 104.25p.
Another bad week for Jarvis then, but hopes of a respite will be short-lived – as I scribe this most illustrious column the group has started to dip to under a quid.