Network tester Anite plunges after 4G boom

SHARES in Anite plunged yesterday after the telecoms software firm’s chief executive suggested that recent trading had been below par.

In a gloomy statement, Christopher Humphrey said that Anite would need a “strong” end to its financial year to match expectations and that trading during its third quarter had been worse than last year.

The company, whose software is used to test mobile phones and network infrastructure, has seen a slowdown in trading after a bumper year in 2011-12, when telecoms firms were scrambling to test 4G, the next generation of wireless networks.

“Trading in the quarter ended 31 January 2013 reflected what is, typically, a relatively quiet seasonal period for the business,” Anite said.

“This contrasted with an unusually strong quarter last year which was driven by high demand from handset testing customers investing in initial 4G systems at the end of the 2011 budget year.”

The news sent the FTSE 250 firm’s shares into freefall yesterday, with a drop of more than 16 per cent, wiping around £75m off the company’s value. Investec analyst James Goodman noted that “the tone is incrementally cautious” and downgraded his rating on the firm from “buy” to “hold”.

Anite also warned that its travel business, which provides reservation and payment software for hotels and restaurants, reflected the “lumpiness” of the industry, with orders weighted towards the summer.

“As expected, we require a strong fourth quarter in order to achieve expectations for the year,” Humphrey said. “Our sales pipelines continue to increase and the fundamental growth drivers of our businesses are developing positively.”