´Guidance´ is the information and insight a company should provide with respect to its future results. As it is impossible to predict the exact result for the coming financial year, a public company provides its stakeholders with an outlook, for example the expected earnings per share (EPS) estimate for a specific period in the future (e.g. the next quarter or the next full year).
It is customary and advised to always publish a disclaimer in conjunction with the company’s outlook. Such a disclaimer is also referred to as a Safe Harbor statement. It is advised to co-operate with the legal counsel on such a disclaimer statement.
In general, analysts and investors are not keen on surprisesand appreciate a realistic view on the future, based on a realistic assessment of opportunities and risks and on a realistic view of the manageability on macro-economic environment.
Management and IROs should be aware of analysts’ and investors' (implicit) expectations and the consensus estimate. Providing guidance on the ‘building blocks’, i.e. the underlying elements of the results, can be an effective way of managing expectations.
Based on the assumptions and guidance provided by the company on the different developments influencing a company’s results, analysts and investors can make their own analysis and expectations for the results development of the company.