Vehicle engineering consultancy Ricardo may find its stock market listing under scrutiny, following a clamp-down by the FTSE stock exchange index on companies using a `support services’ listing to escape underperforming industry sectors.
A meeting this week is set to spark a shake-up of the support services category, aimed at limiting it in future to companies providing contracted-out services across a wide range of industries.
Ricardo joined the index when it was created, having been previously listed as a `miscellaneous’ company. But having sold its nuclear and aerospace businesses, Ricardo’s engineering interests are now limited to the automotive sector.
Under the FTSE review, companies such as Ricardo could be encouraged to seek a listing in the `automobiles’ category, where company ratings are typically lower than in support services.
`Our presence in that sector is a historical anomaly; we used to be multi-industry and we are no longer,’ said a Ricardo spokesman. But he added that moving alongside car makers or component manufacturers would not provide ideal comparisons of performance: `We are a completely different animal. We don’t make anything.’
Most of Ricardo’s major competitors are not publicly quoted, making it difficult to compare rivals’ performance, he added.