Does the warning of a possible warning qualify as a warning? Sorry if this sounds all rather cryptic but this is the situation facing investors in Innovation Group (TIG) this morning. In a late out of the blocks trading update (issued at 9.42am) the insurance claims software platform provider spelled out the threat to its full year financial performance if it fails to close a handful of contracts currently in the pipeline by Wednesday.
If Innovation does not close all of these contracts prior to 30 September 2015, profits for the financial year ending 30 September 2015 will be negatively affected."
That's the 30 September, its fiscal year end. No pressure then sales people.
Either way, it's sort of a profits warning, albeit one that might be side-stepped at the last minute by a bit of negotiation hot shoe shuffling.
That the shares have barely budged on the news, off about 2.5% at 38.75p, is not terribly surprising.
The company has all but sealed its own takeover, having given its blessing to a £499 million, 40p per share offer, from the private equity people at Carlyle. That proposed deal looks under little real threat against today's announcement, the chances are that the pending contracts in question will come through even if a little later than hoped.
Which tells a tale about Innovation, it has always sailed close to the wind when it comes to hitting full year targets, and typically has its work cut out closing those final few before the fiscal gates slam shut. That can create plenty of volatility in the share price, yet longer in the tooth investors have long since come to terms with this fact, and it's not so different for many software, and other, businesses.
Perhaps the key question here is whether the 40p take out proposals is decent business for shareholders in general. Shares highlighted the point that a takeover could come at any time back in June (read here), yet City analysts have long felt the business was worth considerably more than Carlyle will be paying, Panmure Gordon's George O'Connor most recently had a 52p per share target price on the stock.