Friday, 23 January 2009

Meeting expectations

(By Anthony Miller). Three trading updates issued today reflect the general sentiment of recent company reports, i.e. ‘we’ll meet 2008 expectations ... but who knows what will happen in 2009?’.

Supply chain software player, Kewill, expects to meet 2008 profit expectations (see here), having warned of a revenue miss in its interim results in November (see Decision delays theme trading updates). CEO Paul Nichols confirmed what many others in the sector are seeing: “several customers (are) selecting Kewill and then delaying their purchase decision until they have stronger visibility of their own market position”.

One of the UK’s leading ITSAs (IT staff agencies) Spring Group also expects to “broadly” meet profit expectations (see here), and has also seen an uptick in RPO (recruitment process outsourcing) deals. Indeed they recently won one such RPO deal with insurance giant Aviva, which CEO Peter Searle (who used to lead archrival Computer People) said will likely be Spring’s largest RPO client in 2009. Aviva ‘outsourced’ its captive BPO operations to Indian player WNS last July.

A different “Aveva”, the CAD-CAM software firm previously known as Cadcentre, forecasts FY results (to March ’09) “in line with management expectations”. Their trading statement (see here) seemed slightly more upbeat that either Spring or Kewill, with strong growth in Central and Southern Europe and Asia/Pac.

We seem to be perched on the edge of a precipice – and we can’t see the bottom of the chasm.

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