BusinessCompany NewsRaft FD faces first year loss

Raft FD faces first year loss

It can't be a pleasant experience. You join a new company as finance director and one of your first big tasks is to help the business out of the mire. Indeed you face the possibility of registering a loss in your very first set of annual accounts.

That’s the position for Sandra Kelly as her new employer, Raft International, publishes its annual accounts on Monday.

The company has been dogged by bad news this year – and in the midst of it all Kelly stepped in to take over from Mark Dowding in May. Her appointment was perhaps one of Raft’s most upbeat moments over the past 12 months.

Raft produces software for wealth and risk management, investment banking, energy and corporate trading which brings Raft into contact with big-name clients including Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein with which it concluded a headline deal ealier this year.

But the headlines also included news of a failed deal resulting in derision from some quarters. Kelly and chief executive Frank Mobjerg would have been watching the news closely. Not least because a profits warning was issued after the company failed to make the ‘acquisitions necessary to ensure growth’.

The share price history, traded on AIM, makes grim reading. In January Raft began with a price of 335p. In June it was as low as 41p, 65p in October and is currently trading at around 95p.

Raft predicts it is heading for a one-off loss. For the year ending October 2000, it recorded profits of £171,000 on a £9.2m turnover.

Kelly is candid about efforts to make sure the company was reporting financial statements in a standard manner. There are other concerns. ‘The next thing for me to focus on is investor relations,’ says Kelly, who readily agrees this will be a new experience.

It may be more of a challenge when the results finally emerge.

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