Submarine and warship repairer Babcock believes it has identified the anonymous analyst behind a damaging attack on the company. Babcock, one of the Ministry of Defence’s biggest suppliers, was blindsided in October last year when a previously unknown organisation, Boatman Capital Research, published a highly critical dossier. The report claimed the company had “systematically misled investors by burying bad news about its performance”, and called for the departures of chief executive Archie Bethel and then chairman Mike Turner. The 23-page attack wiped more than 5%, or £130m, from the company’s market value. Babcock published a rebuttal, claiming the report contained “many false and malicious statements”. The board hired the investigative firm Kroll to trace the author. It is believed to have identified David Robertson, a former journalist at The Times who worked at the corporate intelligence firm K2 and now runs his own company. The Ministry of Defence has spent £7bn so far on its new class of Dreadnought submarine, which will be armed with nuclear missiles. FTSE 100 defence giant BAE Systems is building the submarines at Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, to replace the Royal Navy’s ageing Vanguard-class vessels, and says they will begin going into service in the early 2030s. Officials revealed that £7bn of a total £41bn budget had so far been spent on the design, assessment and early construction. The four submarines will maintain the navy’s continuous at-sea deterrent.
Times 22nd Dec 2019 read more »