Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Autonomys Wary Boss Left [Pounds Sterling]22m out of Pocket

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Autonomys Wary Boss Left [Pounds Sterling]22m out of Pocket

Article excerpt


MIKE Lynch has had better Thurs-days. When he woke up this morning, thefounder and chief executive of anti-terror software group Autonomys shares wereworth [pounds sterling]211 million. By the time he was heading home this evening afterpresenting results for the first quarter, more than [pounds sterling]22 million had been wipedoff their value.

Did Autonomy make less money than expected? No. First-quarter figures metforecasts, even beating those of many analysts. Was there a thumping greatwarning about future profits? Nope. It said it was sticking with its existingconservative view.

Lynchs crime, it seems, was in not increasing his profit forecasts, optinginstead for a more conservative stance given the current economic conditions.Sounds reasonable, you would have thought, but the brokers were view-ing thatas a profit warning and the shares tumbled 120p to 870p.

At least Lynch was not alone; far from it on a day that saw widespread fallsacross many sectors thanks largely to grisly numbers from housebuilderPer-simmon and asset manager Schro-ders, which did a good demolition job onproperty and financial stocks respec-tively. The FTSE 100 index fell below the6000 mark at lunchtime before manag-ing to dust off some of its 132-pointmorning loss after Wall Streets open-ing was not as bad as expected. By tonightthe Footsie was down 89.9 at 5993.7 while the Dow Jones Industrial Average wasoff just 28.7 at 12,734.6 despite a slew of disappointing figures earlier fromthe likes of Starbucks, Amazon and Motorola.

The nasty news from Schroders, down 67p at 1026p, compounded by Credit Suisseslatest horrors, led to yet another pounding for the banks.

Royal Bank of Scotland, with a host of new downgrades weighing on its shares,fell another 83#4p to 3361#4p, Bar-clays lost 91#4p to 4461#2p and Lloyds TSBshed 5p to 4251#2p. …

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