Another Blow For Troubled Bankster Nat Rothschild
The London business, which specialises in power cables and other electrical components, said a â€śgeneral softening of demandâ€ť for its products would hit sales and profits. The shares fell 51ÂĽ â€“ or 37pc â€“ to 89p, wiping ÂŁ20m off the companyâ€™s value and ÂŁ5m from Mr Rothschildâ€™s fortune.
The blow follows Volexâ€™s revelation in September that it had been hit by change in demand and â€śproduct component strategyâ€ť by its largest customer, which is thought to account for 30pc of Volexâ€™s business.
Volex did not go into detail, or identify the company by name, but it is understood to have been hit by Appleâ€™s decision to introduce a smaller charger socket for its iPhone 5 than it had used for previous iterations of the smartphone.
In its latest profit warning, Volex said the recent dip in demand had not affected its largest customer, but that sales were now likely to between $470m and $485m, compared to earlier analyst forecasts of $529m. Operating profits are now on track for between $11m and $14m.
Volex was also hit by delays to orders to some of its products, and a change of management at the top of its sales operation.
The company said it would cut costs to help turn the company around, and strengthen its senior sales team. It hired former Diageo executive Daniel Abrams as chief finance director, and Karen Slatford, former general manager of worldwide sales and marketing at US computer giant Hewlett-Packard, as deputy chairman.
However, analysts were unconvinced. Investec moved its rating from a buy to a hold and slashed its target price from 140p to 125p.
â€śThe company has struggled to generate revenue growth in the recent past given a combination of weak end markets, product delays and disruption within the sales organisation,â€ť Investec analyst Thomas Rands said.
The fall will come as a blow to Mr Rothschild, who is already embroiled in a protracted battle over the future of troubled mining firm Bumi.
The billionaire is battling to oust the Indonesiaâ€™s influential Bakrie family from the listed company, which they brought to London together before falling out.
Mr Rothschild declined to comment.