Fever-Tree postpones results statement

Mixer maker Fever-Tree was due to release its preliminary 2019 fiscal results this morning, but cancelled their publication following pressure from the Financial Conduct Authority.

 

Fever-Tree still managed to mention it had a “solid start to the new financial year,” in a statement regarding the delay. Trading in the first two months of 2019, it said, was in line with expectations, while its business in the US was “in particular seeing strong trading”.

The FCA issued guidance to businesses on 21 March asking that listed businesses delay their preliminary results announcements for 2019 by a minimum of two weeks due to the challenges caused by the UK’s coronavirus prevention strategies.

The financial body said public companies and the audit firms they work with to compile the documents are facing “unprecedented practical challenges during the Coronavirus crisis.”

It is quite common for large firms to publish preliminary results ahead of their actual regulatory deadline.

But the FCA has now said that releasing financial statements earlier than required adds “unnecessarily to the pressure on the audit profession and listed companies at this moment.”

Fever-Tree reassured investors that it is “extremely secure”, has no underlying debts to pay and currently has £128 million on its books.

However, the mixer group’s statement added that “given the current high level of uncertainty it is too early to quantify the impact the COVID-19 crisis will have on the outturn for the remainder of the 2020 financial year and therefore the board is not able to provide financial guidance at this stage.”

In a letter to public businesses, the FCA’s chief executive Christopher Woolard said: “I am therefore requesting you announce the delay of the publication of preliminary financial statements.”

“I would be grateful if you could give this request urgent consideration, discuss with your board if appropriate, and indicate today or tomorrow whether you will delay publication by emailing our Head of Listing Transactions Department your intention.”

Fever-Tree’s statement comes after it has already had to deliver two profit warnings for the 2019 results.

Fever-Tree’s shares were trading at £15.05 on Monday 20 January, their lowest level since April 2017 at the time, after the company said it expected full-year profits to be around 5% lower in 2019 than in 2018.

Its price fell 30 points to £8.97 per share when markets opened at the start of the week (Monday 23 March), but has since recovered, and grew 9.6% the following day.

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