ANALYST VIEWS: HOW SERIOUS IS THIS PROFIT WARNING FOR ACTELION?

JAMES GOODMAN | INVESTEC

Given the company’s uneven record of delivering against consensus forecasts, this deal slippage is unfortunate. It might just be a timing issue, but the market may not take it that lightly. Until we get more clarity, we place our estimates and target price under review. With no chief executive and a new chief finance officer, we suspect investor calls to sell the business will become louder.

GEORGE O'CONNOR | PANMURE GORDON

While investors appreciate that signing deals late in the period is one of the defining attributes of software companies, reaction to this latest profit warning will be exacerbated by the resignation of the chief executive. We very reluctantly move to ‘sell’ until we get greater clarity on the outturn. Our concern is that Alterian will not benefit from a fire sale.

ALEX JARVIS | PEEL HUNT

A single large contract deferral will have a significant impact on the year to March 2011, and we reduce our forecast by around 50 per cent. The message from the company is that ‘fundamentally nothing has changed in the business’ other than this one deferral, albeit it recognises that it was too dependent on lumpy deals. Alterian has strong products, but we will want visibility on the chief executive succession.