Abbot Group plc reported this morning. As posted in September at the time of the interims, this is a firm the scribe wants to like and thus follows carefully.
Unfortunately, and despite impressive prose accompanying the full year results, the numbers are troubling and the group is approaching Friar Tuck-like fitness levels. Retained earning are now only circa 4% of total assets; working capital has turned negative; the earning power (EBIT) of its assets has again worsened; and the company’s equity is now, for the first time in 4 years, worth less than its total liabilities.
The market may react positively to the huge rise in turnover (which, by the way, has halved as a function of total assets in the last 4 years). But on these data Abbot is a company under financial stress if not probable distress.
The scribe does not own Abbot equity. But, outside chance of a Haliburton bid or not, if he did he would be selling out such has been the degradation of its internal efficiency and productivity since 2003.

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