Here's why this ASX 200 stock just crashed 18%

The ASX 200 stock is coming under heavy selling pressure on Thursday.

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S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) stock Costa Group Holdings Ltd (ASX: CGC) is having a day to forget.

Shares in the fresh produce company closed yesterday trading for $3.32. In morning trade, shares were swapping hands for $2.72 apiece, down a painful 18%.

There looks to have been some bargain-hunting going on since then. At the time of writing, Costa shares have recovered to $2.88, down 13.3% for the day.

For some context, the benchmark index is up 0.3% at this same time.

So, why are investors hitting the sell button on this ASX 200 stock today?

What's happening with the ASX 200 stock?

The Costa share price is under heavy pressure today after the company reported on a delay in releasing its results for the first half calendar year spanning six months through to 2 July.

The ASX 200 stock was meant to announce H1 results tomorrow, 25 August. Those will now be reported next Thursday, 31 August. Costa's investor briefing has also been rescheduled to next Thursday at 10am (AEST).

On the earnings front, the company advised that its unaudited half-year EBITDA-S before material items would be approximately $150 million.

(EBITDA-S represents earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation, fair value movements in biological assets (SGARA) and material items.)

Costa noted a "deterioration in the outlook for later season quality" across its citrus category. Management estimates that impact at some $30 million atop a "softening in consumer demand within the tomato category".

Both factors are expected to impact Costa's full-year results. However, the ASX 200 stock still forecasts its full-year EBITDA-S will come in higher than last year's earnings.

The company also noted that it has advised Paine Schwartz Partners (PSP) of the decline in trading conditions. Management said that "it remains uncertain if a transaction with PSP will eventuate and at what price".

However, discussions are continuing, and the company aims to update the market on the proposed takeover later in September.

In July, Costa announced it had received an unsolicited, confidential, non-binding indicative proposal from PSP to acquire all of the shares in the ASX 200 stock which it didn't already own by way of a scheme of arrangement.

PSP offered $3.50 per share, atop allowing shareholders to receive the interim dividend, valuing the company at some $1.4 billion.

Stay tuned.

Costa share price snapshot

Despite today's sizeable retrace, the ASX 200 stock remains up 8% over 12 months.

Motley Fool contributor Bernd Struben has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Costa Group. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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