The ramifications at fashion chain Superdry (SDRY) continue in early trade on Wednesday as investors mull the impact of yesterday’s narrowly supported return of founder Julian Dunkerton.

Shareholders voted for the charismatic clothing entrepreneur to take a place back on the board by the thinnest of margins, getting 50.75% of votes to back his bid to return.

But that has led to more chaos, with multiple boardroom resignations sparked in response, announced after stock market trading hours on Tuesday, plus the resignation of both of the company's brokers.

Chairman Peter Bamford, Euan Sutherland, the chief executive plus finance chief Ed Barker and Penny Hughes, chairman of the Remuneration Committee, all walked out in protest at Dunkerton’s contentious return.

The hope is that Dunkerton will be able to arrest dismal trading at Superdry but investors remain sceptical, with shares in the embattled fashion brand crashing by more than 10% in early trade on Wednesday. The stock has slumped 52p to 447.8p, valuing the business at £367m.

It is otherwise a fairly steady start to opening trade in London with the FTSE 100 slightly ahead at 9am. The UK’s benchmark index has added close on 10 points to 7,393.52, a 2019 high.

OUT OF FOCUS

But the bad news does  not end at Superdry with photo booths-to-laundry company Photo-Me (PHTM) warning on profits for the financial year to 30 April.

Photo-Me now says that its pre-tax profit, before one-off restructuring costs in Japan, will narrowly miss previous guidance of £44m, with ‘at least £42m’ on the same net basis now anticipated.

The firm says it has continued to expand its high margin self-service laundry operations, which will make up an increasing proportion of total revenue in the medium term. Photo-Me shares fall 3.7% to 81.3p, reflecting the likely marginal profits miss.

Feeling the squeeze from new rules governing high risk investment assets is online derivatives trading platform CMC Markets (CMC).

Its share price has tanked 7.5% in early trade on Wednesday to 77.5p after spelling out revenue from the complex financial products it offers will slump 37% in the 12 months to 31 March 2019, compared to the year before.

CMC, like other trading platforms, has been hit by new rules that limit the number of people it can offer higher risk products, such as contracts-for-difference and options.

Adding to the misery is news that CMC’s chief operating and financial officer, Grant Foley, has decided to leave the business.

CMC will report full year results on 6 June 2019.

TOUGH ROAD FOR AA

Full year pre-tax profits at roadside rescue and insurance supplier AA (AA.) have slumped from £141m to £53m in the year to 31 January 2019. The company has also rebased its dividends, offering shareholders just 2p per share for last year compared to the 5p payout of 12 months ago.

But investors are somewhat relieved, with many believing things could have been much worse. While profits were down, this was partly caused by a £26m investment in its roadside and insurance arm as signalled in its strategic plan.

AA shares nudge 2.8% higher to 92.8p, although the stock has collapsed from over 400p levels in 2015.

Big Six energy supplier SSE (SSE) is taking a £700,000 hit in penalties after missing targets to install smart gas meters for customers in 2018. Under a government programme, suppliers are required by law to take all reasonable steps to roll-out smart meters to all homes and small businesses by the end of 2020.

SSE, which recently ditched plans to merge with rival Npower, sees its share price stay largely flat at £11.795.

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Issue Date: 03 Apr 2019