Here’s why the Empired Ltd share price plunged 37% today

Junior Australian IT services provider, Empired Ltd (ASX: EPD), saw its share price cut 37% today after shares emerged from a trading halt.

On Wednesday afternoon, Empired shares entered a trading halt, “pending the release of a trading update.” Then, at the ASX’s open this morning, shares traded sharply lower before further falls saw its share price sink as much as 37% lower at the close.

What happened?

Empired said the integration of acquisitions, contract delays and closure of offices would take its toll on financial performance. It said it expects to report revenue of approximately $79 million for the first half of its 2016 financial year while EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) is expected to come it at just 1%-2% of revenue. However, adjusting for the “one off” or “transitional” items would result in an EBITDA margin of 8% to 9% the company said.

In the second half of the financial year, Empired’s management expect to report revenue between $80 million and $90 million and an EBITDA margin between 8% and 10%.

The company’s new full-year revenue guidance of between $159 million and $169 million compares with its previous revenue forecast between of $155 million and $175 million.

“Whilst we have delivered strong top line growth, we are disappointed by the number of items impacting profitability in the first half and are confident that these items are either one-off or transitionary in nature,” Empired managing director, Russell Baskerville, said. “We are confident in the investments and strategic initiatives undertaken and look forward to delivering improved financial performance and value creation for our shareholders.”

Empired also expects to report a $2.3 million write-down to the carrying value of its property, plant and equipment.

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Motley Fool writer/analyst Owen Raszkiewicz does not have a financial interest in any company mentioned. Owen welcomes -- and encourages -- your feedback on Google+, LinkedIn or you can follow him on Twitter @ASXinvest.

Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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