THE NUMBER of UK-quoted companies issuing profit warnings soared by 30 per cent in the last quarter of 2013, as fears of a slowdown in global growth dented earnings, according to EY research released yesterday.
UK profit warnings fell to a three-year low earlier in the year but 73 warnings were issued in the final quarter.
FTSE 350-listed firms fared the worst, announcing 31 profit warnings in the fourth quarter, as many as in the last three months of 2008, at the height of the financial crisis.
Most of the companies trimming their outlooks last year were from the business services and industrial sectors, as well as companies exposed to volatile natural resources markets and the US shutdown.
The sectors with the highest proportion of companies issuing profit warnings in 2013 were aerospace and defence and general industrials.
“The 30 per cent quarterly rise in UK profit warnings in the final quarter of last year seems incongruous next to improving economic data, but global growth anxieties reduced profit expectations in late summer, with earnings downgrades continuing into the final quarter of 2013,” said Keith McGregor, EY’s capital transformation leader for Europe, Middle East, India and Africa.