Personal injury heavyweight Slater & Gordon saw its share price drop 52 per cent overnight after the UK Government announced a shake-up in the way road accidents claims are handled.
The announcement was made as part of the Government’s Autumn Statement yesterday (25 November) in which Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne set out plans to remove the right to general damages for minor injuries. To compensate for the higher number of injuries in the small claims court the threshold for claims will also increase from £1,000 to £5,000.
Slater & Gordon’s share price to fell from A$1.38 to A$0.65 as a result of the announcement.
The firm issued a statement to its shareholders stating that it did “not expect there to be any impact on its FY16 performance”.
The Ministry of Justice intends to consult on the new proposals early next year. The firm said it would be involved in the consultation and would inform its shareholders as to the impact on its 2017 full-year performance.
Although listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), around 40 per cent of the firm’s global revenue is generated in the UK. During the last financial year Slater & Gordon’s UK revenue soared 47.6 per cent, from A$143.4m to A$211.6m (£98.4m). Globally the firm saw revenue increase by 27 per cent from A$411.1m to A$521.9m (£242.9m).
Slater & Gordon’s share price has taken a number of hits over the last year. In March the firm purchased insurance outsourcer Quindell’s professional services arm for around £700m. However, following the deal the FCA launched an investigation regarding an overstatement of Quindell’s profits in 2014. The investigation caused the firm’s share price to fall from A$6.13 to $5.06.
The FCA ended its investigation in order to allow the Serious Fraud Office to launch its own criminal investigation. At the time Slate & Gordon reviewed its accounting policies to “enhance the understanding of market participants” of the group’s financial results.
Slater & Gordon’s share price has now fallen 91.7 per cent from a high of A$7.85 in April.