Last updated: January 2, 2013 12:45 pm

Glitch in LSE announcements hits trading

  • Share
  • Print
  • Clip
  • Gift Article
  • Comments
London Stock Exchange©Daniel Jones

The first day of trading on the London Stock Exchange in 2013 was disrupted by a technical problem that delayed the release of many company announcements by 90 minutes.

Traders returning to work on Wednesday after the new year’s day bank holiday were unable to see disclosures that should have been distributed by the LSE’s Regulatory News Service at 7am until shortly after 8.30am.

“It’s pretty shambolic really,” said a person close to one of the dozens of companies affected, adding that they could not remember such a problem happening before.

However, another issuer caught up in the disruption was more forgiving, describing the problem as “just one of those things”.

The London Stock Exchange blamed “technical issues” for the failure and was not able to say exactly how many announcements had been delayed.

However, there was an unusually large bulge of about 100 announcements that were pushed out via RNS at 8.36am and 8.37am. The LSE said the vast majority of these had been delayed from a scheduled 7am distribution.

One of the most important botched RNS announcements concerned Lamprell, a specialist engineer that suffered a series of profit warnings in 2012.

On Wednesday, it said it had been able to persuade its lenders to waive certain borrowing conditions before a deadline that had elapsed at the end of 2012 – a very significant piece of news for the group and its investors.

Lamprell is understood to have submitted the update to RNS on new year’s day and then passed it to various news organisations in line with disclosure rules for periods when the market is closed.

It was critical of the delay to publication. “With very good news for Lamprell being reported, it was potentially very damaging that sales desks may not have seen the positive announcement before the market opened for trading,” it said.

Shares in the company had risen 18 per cent to 111p in late afternoon trading but had only gained momentum after the delayed publication of the official RNS statement. They closed at 113.25, up 20.48 per cent.

Other companies known to have been hit by the glitch included the FTSE 100’s Babcock International and Weir Group , which were trying to announce the acquisition of a small Weir subsidiary by Babcock for an enterprise value of £23m.

The delay also affected the confirmation by International Mining and Infrastructure, which trades on the Aim junior market, that it had approached an Aim-quoted rival, Afferro Mining, about a possible takeover.

The LSE said RNS gives investors first sight of more than 70 per cent of price-sensitive UK company disclosures, distributing more than 200,000 announcements each year.

It is currently considering whether to charge users for access to the service; it already charges companies to distribute their news.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2015. You may share using our article tools.
Please don't cut articles from FT.com and redistribute by email or post to the web.

  • Share
  • Print
  • Clip
  • Gift Article
  • Comments

NEWS BY EMAIL

Sign up for email briefings to stay up to date on topics you are interested in

SHARE THIS QUOTE