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Quoted companies hit by spike in profit warnings

PROFIT WARNINGS last month rose to their highest level since the financial crisis as a more unsettled economy appeared to shake confidence in the recovery.

According to a report from EY, UK quoted companies issued nearly 20% fewer profit warnings in the third quarter of 2013, compared to the same period last year, but were hit by a spike in warnings during September.

In total, there were 56 profit warnings in the third quarter of 2013, down from 68 in the same period of 2012, with a spike of 26 warnings in September.

“US fiscal battles, taper concerns and emerging market volatility all provided reminders this summer that we’re long way from any kind of economic, financial or monetary normality and the road back won’t be smooth,” said Keith McGregor, EY’s head of restructuring for Europe, Middle East and Africa.

“There is also a sense that we’re moving onto the next stage of the recovery, where growth will be more vital to profits.”

Smaller companies – those with a turnover under £200m – issued more profit warnings in the first three quarters of 2013 than over the same period in 2012, which compares with a 34% fall in profit warnings from companies in the £201m to £1bn turnover band.

Alan Hudson, EY’s UK & Ireland head of restructuring, said: “Smaller companies are inherently more vulnerable to profit warnings since they are more likely to find a squeeze on sales or change in pricing material to profit expectations, although this doesn’t entirely explain why their fortunes are diverging now.”

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