Babcock International senior management are absolutely right to fight back hard against what the company called in a statement, the “many false and malicious statements made” by what I would define as being a back-street operation and one that I suspect very few qualified analysts and fund managers in the ‘city’ have ever heard of that calls itself Boatman Capital Research.
Ordinarily I would not usually bother to comment on an individual analyst report from a recognised investment or fund management organisation, whether such a report was favourable disposed or not. Why? Because while I may agree or disagree the content or recommendation the one thing that I can be absolutely sure of is that the research analyst concerned behind any analyst report is properly qualified and has good knowledge of the company, its senior management and of the industry the company serves.
However, when I spot something that looks highly suspicious, in this case a report that emanates from what I would probably term as being a back-street operation, one that few if any of us appear to had ever previously heard of, I feel obliged to comment. Indeed, given that Babcock International has strongly refuted what it has termed as “false and malicious claims” made within the Boatman Research report to the point of putting out a Stock Exchange RNS announcement yesterday, I know well that no quoted company would ever do that without there being very good reason.
The Boatman research product smacks to me of a possible concerted effort to not only to cause as much damage as it could to the reputation of Babcock International – and in the process, cause sufficient angst amongst market makers to send a share price down – for reasons unknown. The bottom line is bound to be that a strong possibility exists of there being an ulterior motive behind this very offensive, damaging and unprofessional report.
Claiming that Babcock International had been “burying bad news about its performance” and that its leadership was “not up to the job” together with a strongly refuted suggestion contained in the report that that Babcock has a terrible relationship with the Ministry of Defence with whom it is engaged on 128 different contracts is downright wrong. Yes, there are bound to be problems from time to time with a large customer such as the MoD and I dare say even the odd disagreement too but I know all too well that Babcock International is highly respected within the MoD for what it continues to achieve.
So, who on earth are Boatman Capital Research? Having myself spent 28 years in the ‘city’ as an analyst until 2012, I can without hesitation say that until yesterday I had never even heard of them. First thing this morning I made a search for their website and when it eventually did open up all that I gleaned was that they claim to “conduct thorough investigations in order to guide investors through troubled waters of international markets” and that they “use investigative due diligence processes to gather information for our research”. I doubt that a serious fund manager worth his or her salt would dare use an operation such as this although individual investors with a serious ulterior motive might.
I note too that towards the bottom of the miserable looking page displaying the dozen or so words about what they purport to do that there are invitations to ‘Subscribe’ and ‘Submit An Idea’. On seeing this I suddenly become even more suspicious and the idea flashes by that this could well be taken as a recipe to disrupt a share price. A further attempt to look at this supposed research organisation in more detail on its website brought up ‘This Page can’t be displayed’.
Babcock International carries the slogan ‘trusted to deliver’ and I know well that its does that in spades. This is a company that is all about delivering bespoke, highly-skilled engineering support services that include technology integration, infrastructure management and specialist training and many other support services.
CHW (London – 13th November 2018)
Howard Wheeldon FRAeS
Wheeldon Strategic Advisory Ltd
M: +44 7710 779785