This week four pieces of company information strikingly illustrate the challenges and opportunities which face UK businesses. EKF Diagnostics (LON:EKF) (point of care diagnostics) announced the acquisition of a US distributor, which is described further in today's EKF post below. It illustrates the potential for UK smallcaps with valuable knowledge to build mini-multinationals, and follows the example of other David Evans chaired companies such as Immunodiagnostic Systems (LON:IDH) and Omega Diagnostics (see below).

In last Saturday's Times, there was an article Steel Chief condemns UK's 'lazy' managers based on an interview with Ratan Tata and the proposals to shed 1,500 jobs at Tata owned Corus. He is quoted as saying

Britain needs a real push. It needs nationalism. The sort of spirit that comes during a war. It needs people who really want to see the UK sitting again, maybe not as a colonial, but as an economic power.”

I regard EKF, Immunodiagnostics and Omega as examples of UK companies already conforming to the advice given by Mr Tata.

Just Car Clinics (LON:JCR) (motor collision repair centres) reported at its AGM as follows:

In our 2010 Annual Report, released in early March, we identified that the subdued economic climate and high petrol prices were reducing road usage and that retail customers were delaying smaller repairs due to the cost of high insurance excess payments. These factors have continued to have an adverse impact on repair volumes in the current year.  Whilst profitability in the first quarter was broadly in line with expectations, a combination of these challenging market conditions and the recent record breaking dry weather, have resulted in significant pressure on repair volumes, with turnover falling by 14% in the first four months of 2011 when compared to the previous year."

Although this company does not conform to the LCF Research template, I follow it because I think that it provides a useful insight into what is really happening at the coalface of the UK economy compared with much of the commentary in the media.

Omega Diagnostics (LON:ODX) (specialises in diagnostics for testing allergies and food intolerance). The Cenkos research note issued last week referred to the proposed purchase for…

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