I had a question when reviewing an annual report of a company Wood PLC. In their report they have used the letter "c" in lowercase after different types of numbers.

E.g., basic EPS is reported as "(34.1)c". I do gather that rounded brackets mean loss. But what does the letter "c" mean there? The columns is reported in $m.

Further ahead, a lower case "c" is used in many contexts, e.g.,

  1. After a number like the one stated above for Basic EPS "(34.1)c".

  2. With $ symbol

    Leveraged flexible model to take early and decisive action to protect margin; improved operational utilisation and delivered c$230m overhead savings with an exceptional cost to achieve of c$100m

    I had initially assumed with $ symbol it might be Canadian dollar, but shouldn't it be upper case "C" then?

  3. Ahead of a %. Something like this -

    Order book down c17% on 2019 reflecting macro conditions and discerning bidder approach

What does the letter "c" mean in all these contexts?

Are there different meanings for different contexts here or does it mean the same thing across all these contexts (number, dollar, and percentage)?

  • 4
    It's probably short for "circa" (i.e. "approximately"). – Flux Apr 25 at 13:09
  • But is it okay to report circa in a annual report? Because it is the only piece of document shared with investors which cannot have approximates isn't it? Another thing that circa is generally prefixed ahead of a date or number but if you notice in the EPS line it is suffixed. Does that also possibly mean circa? – Siva Senthil Apr 25 at 14:03
  • 3
    Note that the page you linked to is not an annual report. It is a news release announcing the publication of the annual report. – Flux Apr 25 at 14:42
  • Understood and with you on that being only news release. Please see my comment on your answer where the usage of letter "c" is sprinkled in many places in PDF file as well. – Siva Senthil Apr 25 at 14:45

It appears that "c" is used in two ways in this press release:

  • When the "c" comes after the number, it means "cents". For example, a basic EPS of "(34.1)c" means a deficit of 34.1 cents. This can be confirmed by looking at page 22 in the annual report, where it explicitly says that the basic EPS is "(34.1) cents".

  • When the "c" comes before the number, it means "circa" (i.e. "approximately"). Notice how all the dollar amounts that begin with "c$" are all nice round numbers. As for "c17%", refer to page 22 of the annual report, where it says that the order book decreased by 17.4%. From all this evidence, we can reasonably conclude that "c" means "circa" when it comes before the number.

  • Great answer, sounds logical and sound with the examples you have given. Thank you ! Only thing that still bothers is Annual report is the only piece of document shared with investors can that have approximates (crica) like that? In the PDF file (e.g. Page 24, 25, Segmental overview section; Market and % of Revenue subsection) if you notice many of revenue share in business units also have c-prefix? – Siva Senthil Apr 25 at 14:42
  • 2
    @SivaSenthil Notice how all these "c"s are not in the financial statements but rather in the "strategic report". I'm not familiar with the UK, but my guess is that the company has much leeway in writing the "strategic report". The important part is the financial statements, not the "strategic report". – Flux Apr 25 at 14:52
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    Oh! Strategic Report is it like interpretation prepared by the company and the only thing under the ambit of financial reporting accuracy is the part of annual report labelled as "Financial Statements". That is a new learning. Thank you @Flux. – Siva Senthil Apr 25 at 15:10
  • @SivaSenthil I'm not familiar enough with the UK to tell you whether or not you are right. Why don't you ask a new question? I'd be interested in reading the answers there. – Flux Apr 25 at 15:15
  • 1
    @BruceWayne I have never seen ~ used in that way in formal British English. It is used (with a more precise meaning, than just "approximately") in mathematics, of course. The conventional math symbol for "approximately equal" is ≈ not ~. – alephzero Apr 26 at 11:28

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