UK Stock Market’s Winners and Losers in 2017


The Losers

  1. Carillion: down by 93 percent

Three years ago, Carillion ventured a merger with Balfour Beatty. However, currently, its market capitalisation is only a tiny fraction of its peers. The construction company has announced three profit warnings since July, it brought in KPMG to examine its accounts, it has been trying to dispose of assets and may open the new year by breaching its debt covenants. Interserve, its downtrodden rival, has experienced similar problems writing down contracts that are unprofitable; that stock is down by 74 percent this year.

Read more: Shares of Carillion Drop after the Contractor is Included on School-building Shortlist

2. Provident Financial: down by 68 percent

Carillion is the winner of the race to the bottom. However, Provident rendered the most spectacular moment. In August, shares in the subprime lender dropped 66 percent in a day during a “quadruple whammy” of bad news: a profit warning, a regulatory inquiry into its Vanquis Bank credit-card unit, discarding the interim dividend and the resignation of its CEO. Just when it appeared that things could not get any worse, in December, Provident said that Moneybarn, its car finance unit, was being investigated.

3. Dixons Carphone: down by 43 percent

An unexpected prediction for a decline in annual profit in August struck the mobile phone and electronics retailer. Some analysts said that the company did not address investor concerns earlier in the year. The retailer was pressed by customers that are holding onto handsets longer, with a relative shortage of hot new devices which mean less appetite for new upgrades. A fresh plan for the mobile phone unit late in 2017 was welcomed. However, it only partially made up for the ground that was lost.

Read more: Investors threaten to hang up on Dixons Carphone chief James

4. Petrofac: down by 42 percent

Being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office of the United Kingdom is a sure-fire way to land a company on the losers list. In May, Petrofac, an oil services firm, first prompted a bribery-related probe. A few weeks later, it suspended the company’s chief operating officer. Later in the same unfortunate month, The Investors Service of Moody’s downgraded the credit rating of the company to junk. Victoria McCulloch, the RBC Capital Markets analyst, says that the SFO probe will continue to be an “overhang” in 2018.

Read more: Petrofac Mulls a Sale of its North Sea Arm

5. Centrica: down by 41 percent

2017 was already shaping up to be a tough year for Centrica as the Government of the United Kingdom launched plans to cap some household energy bills. However, in November, things went from bad to worse when shares in the owner of British Gas dropped the most after two decades following a profit warning. The energy company saw its customers in the United Kingdom desert and drew questions from analysts regarding the sustainability of its dividend.