Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Highams’ anniversary waltz

(By Anthony Miller – Tuesday 28th July 2009 8:30am). Perhaps I am in a nostalgic mood as I feel compelled to write about companies I haven’t looked at in years but still find them knocking around, eking out a meagre (and sometimes not so meagre) existence in these troubling times. Such is the case for AIM-listed ITSA (IT staff agency) and ‘Little British Battler’, Highams Systems Services. They’ve been around since 1983, and listed on AIM in ’96 at (then) 72p valuing the company at £6.4m. By the end of FY99 Highams had hit £34m in revenues and £1.5m PBT; the company was then worth nearly £12m.

Different today, of course. Revenues this year (to 31st March ’09) were down 23% to £10.5m, though pre-tax losses narrowed from £1.9m in FY08 to -£300k. Highams is currently valued at less than £1m. Founder John Higham remains on the board as a NED and deputy chairman and appears to control 27% of the stock. Well, the company made it past its Silver anniversary – I wonder if it will make it through to its Pearl?

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