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Cardno Limited share price plunges…again

The Cardno Limited (ASX: CDD) share price has plunged again, this time losing nearly 40% of its value to trade around 56 cents.

Just over a month ago, the infrastructure and environmental services consulting company saw its share price sink more than 20% in the opening minutes of trading, after the group announced its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) would be between $40 and $45 million – down significantly on the previous guidance of above $65 million.

Cardno has many clients in the mining, oi and gas sectors and has obviously been hit by the downturn in commodities prices, and its clients cutting back on their capital expenditure – something laboratory testing group ALS Ltd (ASX: ALQ) and a host of mining services companies can also attest to.

At the time, Cardno also said it might need to raise capital to stay within its bank leverage covenant. Clearly the bankers hold sway at Cardno and the company was forced to raise capital.

Last week Cardno announced that it was going to raise around $92.5 million to lower its debt via a non-renounceable rights issue, at an issue price of 40 cents per share. Shares in Cardno last traded at 93 cents.

Today the company announced that it had raised $26 million under the institutional offer, with just 91% of eligible shareholders taking up the offer.

The retail offer opens on Wednesday and will close on Monday, 20 June. Retail investors have the option of kicking in more capital or seeing their existing holding substantially diluted.

Many it seems have opted to sell out altogether.

Given private equity firm Crescent Capital hold almost half of Cardno, a takeover offer down the track appears on the cards. But shareholders will most likely be furious they didn’t get out earlier, after Crescent offered $3.45 per share for one share out of every two it didn’t already own in October 2015.

Foolish takeaway

Crescent Capital now has the opportunity to takeover Cardno at a much-reduced price, and with inherently less risk now that net debt is expected to be $91 million after the capital raising is completed.

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Motley Fool writer/analyst Mike King doesn't own shares in any companies mentioned. You can follow Mike on Twitter @TMFKinga

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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