Hornby shares soar as boss is derailed

Hornby model train Image copyright Danny Lawson

Shares in Hornby have soared by more than a third after the toymaker said Richard Ames would step down as chief executive.

His departure comes after shares in the company, whose brands include Scalextric, Airfix and Corgi, crashed last week after a "disappointing" start to the year.

Chairman Roger Canham will now lead the group for the "foreseeable future".

Hornby shares were up 9p, or 36.73%, to 33.5p by close of trading in London.

However, the company is still worth just £18m.

Supply issues

Mr Ames took over in 2014 and during his first 12 months in charge led the company to its first profit in three years.

However, results worsened during 2015 amid a costly IT upgrade, management changes and international supply problems for its model railways.

The Kent-based company last week issued its second profit warning in the space of six months, forecasting pre-tax losses of between £5.5m and £6m this year.

It also revealed a £1m write-off and said it was in talks with its lender, as the scale of losses could result in the firm breaching its banking agreements.

Hornby enjoyed buoyant trading in the run-up to Christmas, with a 17% rise in like-for-like sales during November and December. Yet conditions since the start of this have been in "stark contrast", the company added.

Although UK trading is expected to improve in February and March, sales would still be "significantly" behind previous expectations.

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