Business | Markets

London Stock Exchange glitch delays company announcements

Reporting system gives investors first sight of more than 70% of price-sensitive UK company disclosures

  • FINANCIAL TIMES
  • Published: 18:53 January 2, 2013
  • Gulf News

London: The first day of 2013 trading on the London Stock Exchange has been disrupted by a technical problem that delayed the release of many company announcements by 90 minutes.

Traders returning to work after the new year’s day bank holiday were unable to see disclosures that should have been distributed by the LSE’s Regulatory News Service at 7am until shortly after 8.30am.

“It’s pretty shambolic really,” said a person close to one of the dozens of companies that were affected, adding that they could not remember such a problem happening before.

The London Stock Exchange blamed “technical issues” for the failure and was not immediately able to say exactly how many announcements had been delayed. However, there was an unusually large bulge of about 100 announcements that were pushed out via RNS at 8.36am and 8.37am. The LSE said the vast majority of these had been delayed from 7am.

One of the most important botched RNS announcements concerned Lamprell, a specialist engineer that suffered a series of profit warnings in 2012.

On Wednesday, it said it had been able to persuade lenders to waive certain borrowing conditions before a December 31 deadline — a very significant piece of news for the group.

Damaging

Lamprell said the delay to the official announcement via RNS had been “potentially very damaging”. Shares in the company rose 14 per cent to 107.5p in morning trading but did not gain momentum until after the delayed RNS release.

Other companies known to have been hit by the glitch included the FTSE 100’s Babcock International and Weir Group, which were trying to announce the acquisition of a small Weir subsidiary by Babcock for an enterprise value of £23 million (Dh138 million).

The delay also affected the confirmation by International Mining and Infrastructure, which trades on the Aim junior market, that it had approached an Aim-quoted rival, Afferro Mining, about a possible takeover.

The LSE says RNS gives investors first sight of more than 70 per cent of price-sensitive UK company disclosures. It is currently considering whether to charge users for access to the service, as well as charging companies to distribute their releases.

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