The public company status of Arriva forced it to announce that its finance division, which includes Arriva Automotive Solutions' 80,000-strong fleet, was unlikely to match last year's profit performance. Reaction to the announcement was merciless as Arriva shares fell 70.5p to 441p, wiping 14% off the value of the group. And stock market concern influenced falls in other shares with Lex Service down 23.5p to 557.5p.
Len Clayton, managing director of Arriva Automotive Solutions, claimed the City had failed to understand the positive themes underlying the profits warning. He insisted Arriva's disposal proceeds per unit were only slightly down on last year, and that contracts continued to be healthily profitable.
The warning, he said, was simply a signal that the exceptional profitability achieved by the finance division over the previous three years would not be sustained due to a lack of vehicles coming off contract for sale and the flat used car market.