The chairman’s 2012 statement (And what he really thinks)

It is with great pleasure (it is with a large glass of brandy) that I bring you this year’s annual report.

2012 has been a difficult year for the global economy. (I’d better get the excuses in early). Economic forecasting has been especially difficult (When isn’t it?). Political and commercial trends have been hard to predict (we have been consistently wrong) and it is difficult to look too far ahead with confidence. (We haven’t got the faintest idea what is going on and are steering by the seat of our pants).

Notwithstanding these tough conditions (Everything is ‘tough’ these days – football, cooking, being on I’m a Celebrity… still, it makes us all look good), we have delivered another year of progress (we have somehow got to the end of the year without going bust).

In spite of this harsh climate (in case they missed it) I am pleased to report that our revenues for the year have increased by 10%, a creditable achievement that compares well with our competitors (nobody knows who they are, or will bother to check).

In March we were pleased to acquire Mishap Services (without whose contribution group revenues would have plunged – I wonder if anyone will notice?) We have reported a profit for the year of £0.01m. This is calculated after various adjustments for staff share awards (if we had to pay them real money these would have to be operating costs), other one-off costs (funny how there seem to be one-off costs every year…) and exchange rate movements (that in fact worked in our favour, but I needn’t mention that).

Mishap Services was successfully integrated into the group (we held a get-to-know-you conference in Bournemouth – what a bore that was!) and I am pleased with the contribution they have made to group earnings (without which we would be sunk). The merger has resulted in the synergistic benefits we envisaged (we managed to get shot of their HR manager) and we are reaping the benefit of client cross-fertilisation (sounds fanciful – have I had too much brandy?)

At a divisional level, our subsidiary Jam Tomorrow, which provides holistic, digital solutions (whatever they are) had a busy year although some orders have been deferred into the next financial year (we’ll never get them, frankly). Pull The Other One, our business involved in customer fulfilment initiatives, exhibited at trade shows (very expensive, especially the drinks bill) at which its new product suite was well received (we handed out a lot of brochures and have heard nothing since). We expect this to result in firm orders in the coming year. (Oh God, I hope so).

I am pleased to report that we have significantly strengthened our management team (replaced one lot of losers with another). I am delighted to welcome to the Board Sidney von James, who has had a distinguished career in the mail bag business, and has already demonstrated great enthusiasm (for getting sozzled). Arthur Froadster, who has had a distinguished career with several companies in the City (he was fired from each one) is our new finance director (absolutely useless and I thought City people understood money!) We have kept a tight grip on costs (we have fired a few people and cut the R&D budget… that will come back to haunt us).

Once again this year we have demonstrated our paramount concern for the health and safety of our employees and the protection of their welfare (we have filled in a lot of forms covering all this tiresome nonsense and sent them to some wretched civil servant).

In summary, 2012 has been a year of transition (we have lurched from one disaster to the next). Our three subsidiary companies are all busy (but not successful) and the group has a laid a firm foundation for the future. I would like to thank all of our employees (especially my secretary, Miss Minibar) for applying themselves so diligently and I am sure that shareholders can count on their efforts in the new year.

It only remains for me to wish you the compliments of the season… (and to polish off the brandy bottle), and allow a drunken stupor to dull the horrors of this awful business (note to PR adviser, please check this last bit…)

• This article is taken from Tom Bulford’s free twice-weekly small-cap investment email The Penny Sleuth. Sign up to The Penny Sleuth here.

Information in Penny Sleuth is for general information only and is not intended to be relied upon by individual readers in making (or not making) specific investment decisions. Penny Sleuth is an unregulated product published by Fleet Street Publications Ltd.

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