Broker Panmure has questioned why Ocado has not updated the City after the online grocer’s joint broker Goldman Sachs slashed its operating profit forecasts for the next three years.
Goldman cut its estimates for sales for this year and next by 2% and 5% respectively, and it said it expected capacity constraints to continue through to the end of Ocado’s financial year in November. It lowered EBITDA forecasts by 7% to £35m, and by 15% to £52.5m in the year to November 2012.
At EBIT – operating profit level – Goldman slashed its forecast 22% this year to £9.3m, and next year by 29% to £22m. EBIT for the year to November 2013 is forecast to be flat.
Panmure analyst Philip Dorgan said: “Forecasts have tumbled and are continuing to fall, both for the current year and for future years and yet we have had no statement, which we find a little puzzling.”
He added: “We continue to believe that Ocado will not make an adequate return on capital and that it will struggle to generate cash.”
Dorgan warned that forecasts could fall further still, and highlighted the possible need to raise funds in the future.
“Ocado has had some sort of fundraising in almost every year since its inception and the strain caused in building a £220m warehouse while suffering cash flow shortfalls could be very painful,” he said.
Ocado floated last year at 180p in one of the most controversial retail IPOs for some time.
The etailer declined to comment.