Regus frets over future

City A.M. Reporter
SHARES in the temporary office accomodation group Regus fell by nearly 17 per cent to 94p yesterday as chairman John Matthews revealed he was concerned about the state of the UK market.

Matthews told shareholders at the group’s annual meeting: “The UK remains our most difficult region and the early signs of improvement seen in the first quarter have lost some momentum in a fragile market. We are continuing to take measures to achieve an improvement in performance.”

Matthews said that the group was seeing some improvement within its US and Asian operations but he admitted that trading conditions generally remained tough and that this was likely to impact on the group’s pace of recovery.

Despite the uncertainty Regus is recommending a 33 per cent increase in the final dividend per share from 1.2p per share to 1.6p per share.

Regus says it is well positioned to exploit its strong cash position and global reach to take advantage of an increased level of low risk growth opportunities.

“Our programme to increase the rate of capacity expansion continues with progress in all regions,” its statement said.

The total number of workstations has continued to grow over the last four months to 176,078.

Regus continues to grow its geographic presence with new centres opened including Tianjin in China, Accra in Ghana, St Helier in Jersey along with openings in existing cities such as Berlin, Chicago and Mexico City.

KBC Peel Hunt yesterday raised its full-year profit forecast from £40m to £45m despite the gloomy outlook.