Shares plunge at May Gurney after warning

SHARES in construction firm May Gurney plunged by 41 per cent yesterday, as the firm issued a profit warning.

May Gurney’s chief executive, Phillip Fellowes-Prynne, also announced he was leaving with immediate effect, after spending four years with the firm.

Willie MacDiarmid, currently non-executive director, will assume the role of chief executive officer in the interim.

The infrastructure and maintenance group, which maintains some of the UK’s roads and rail networks, said it had faced some “serious operational issues” related to the closure of its facility services unit. It added that it would “significantly underperform” its original expectations for the current year.

As a result, it will take a £10m charge at the end of 2012.

Despite the profit warning, the underlying performance of the rest of the business is “sound”, according to the junior stock market firm, with forward orders of £1.5bn.

May Gurney, which makes around 60 per cent of its revenue from the public sector, could benefit from the government spending review at the end of the year.

Chairman Baroness Ford said yesterday: “In taking this action today, the board has moved swiftly to deal with the specific operational problems that have emerged over the last few months.”

Shares closed at 130p yesterday.