Scottish profit alerts near all-time record, says EY

EY's Colin Dempster warned of 'calm before the storm'. Picture: Contributed
EY's Colin Dempster warned of 'calm before the storm'. Picture: Contributed
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Scottish-listed companies issued five profit warnings during the final quarter of last year, two fewer than in the previous three months, but the total for 2016 was the second highest on record, according to a new report.

There were 19 profit alerts from Scottish headquartered businesses last year, which is second only to 2008 when 21 were issued, the latest EY Profit Warnings study reveals.

UK-quoted companies issued 73 warnings in the final quarter of 2016, five more than the previous quarter, but 27 fewer than the equivalent period in 2015, when alerts spiked following the slump in the oil price.

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Colin Dempster, EY’s head of restructuring for Scotland, said the relatively benign end to the year was likely to represent “the calm before the storm”.

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He said: “The headline numbers show the UK economy weathering the initial impact of the Brexit vote remarkably well. But, we expect 2017 to be very different in comparison to the second half of 2016 and for many companies a much tougher one.”

On the Scottish data, Dempster noted: “The annual total for 2016 was unusually high as a result of a record number of profit warnings in Q1. This can be attributed to the impact of the low oil price on the supply chain while the global economy struggling to build momentum was also a factor.

“Scotland’s performance in the remainder of the year was remarkably strong, generating an average number of profit warnings that was lower than the average of Q2, Q3 and Q4 for the last seven years.”

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