Why are these small-cap shares plunging today?

Have today’s share price falls thrown up two small-cap bargains?

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It’s a bummer for shareholders when their shares fall on the release of company results — but it can present nice opportunities for those who don’t already hold. Here are two that could be worth buying after today’s drops.

Bango (LSE: BGO) might have a memorable name, but its share price performance over the past few years is something I’m sure many would like to forget. From a peak of 299p in March 2013, Bango shares have crashed by 69% to today’s 88.5p, and that includes a 5% fall on the day the firm released first-half results.

Mobile payments companies can be very profitable, but the problem at Bango seems to be that it’s not making any profit yet while some of its competitors are, and that will surely raise fears that it’s not going to end up as one of the winners in the race.

Today’s news was a bit mixed. In the first half of the year, end user spend was up 150% on the same period last year, to £46.17m, and a 39% rise in gross profit took that to £0.85m. Cash is perhaps a bit tight at £7.24m, and investors might be concerned to see it having fallen from £12.13m at 31 December 2015 — though the company seems happy that there’s enough to keep it going until it achieves profitability.

But broker Peel Hunt has apparently downgraded its stance on Bango and has a £1 price target on the shares. I think that might be a little harsh. After all, Bango handles payments for mobile apps including Pokemon Go, and that didn’t launch until after the reported period. With a market cap of £57m, Bango could be a small-cap with a big future.

A sweeter future?

With a market cap of around £530m, PureCircle (LSE: PURE) is a bigger company, but its share price performance has also been unimpressive — it’s down 50% in just over two years, to 310p, after a 6% drop today following the release of full-year results.

The maker of stevia products reported a 9% rise in sales to $138.6m, with operating profit up 90% to $32.4m. Earnings per share more than trebled to 8.49 cents, though net debt rose in the period to $52.9m. So why the share price fall?

Sales in the second half were lower than expected, due to delays in some launches and to actions by US Customs and Border Protection (who detained a number of shipments based on, apparently inaccurate, suspicions of the use of forced labour). With recent regulatory approvals for stevia products coming from India and Brazil, barriers to sales appear to be falling — and chief executive Magomet Malsagov reckons that: “Prospects for the business over the next 4 to 5 years are strong, and we are confident that as our sales continue to increase, we will report improved profitability.”

PureCircle is forecast to record a further 165% rise in EPS in the year to June 2017, and with markets for natural calorie-free sweeteners potentially huge in these increasingly obese days, a forward P/E of 19 (and a PEG of just 0.1) looks cheap to me. There’ll be volatility ahead for sure, but I can see PureCircle turning into a nice little investment.

Should you invest, the value of your investment may rise or fall and your capital is at risk. Before investing, your individual circumstances should be assessed. Consider taking independent financial advice.

Alan Oscroft has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

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