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Sepura plc and Pressure Technologies plc crash 20% on updates

Shares in communications services company Sepura (LSE: SEPU) have crashed by 26% today after it released a very disappointing trading update. Although Sepura expects revenue for the full year to be 45% higher than in the previous year at €191m, purchase orders for two significant opportunities weren’t received before the year-end cut-off. This has adversely affected the company’s reported revenue and adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) for the year.

As such, Sepura expects to report EBITDA of €17m, a flat performance versus the prior year. However, the delays in purchase orders, for which inventory has already been procured, as well as slower than expected receipts from customers who have previously paid to terms, means that Sepura’s net debt is expected to be relatively high at €119m.

Sepura said in its update that it’s subject to short-term cash constraints that the company expects will require an extension of its banking facilities and a waiver of a possible covenant breach at 30 June. Therefore, it’s in discussions with its lenders as well as with major shareholders regarding an equity capital raising of up to £50m to reduce leverage and provide the working capital required to support the development of the business.

Clearly, today’s update is hugely disappointing and while the shares have already fallen heavily, there could be further to go in the short run as investors digest the news. This means that while Sepura has maintained its full-year guidance, it may be prudent to await further news on its capital position before buying.

Under pressure

Also falling heavily today are shares in Pressure Technologies (LSE: PRES). They’re down by 24% following the release of a profit warning after a disappointing six months to 2 April.

As Pressure Technologies has highlighted in recent months, it faces difficult trading conditions in the oil and gas sector, with them continuing throughout the period. And with the business being highly dependent on that industry, there has been a substantial decline in orders during the second quarter, which has been complicated by unpredictable demand and very short lead times.

Looking ahead, Pressure Technologies expects a slow recovery in the oil and gas market, with high levels of inventory pushing back a pick-up in the sector. And with capital expenditure subject to further cuts, it looks unlikely that investment will pick up until 2017 at the earliest.

Clearly, today’s profit warning is hard news for investors to digest and while Pressure Technologies is making progress in terms of reducing costs via productivity improvements and headcount reductions, its outlook remains highly uncertain. Therefore, while its long-term prospects may be bright, things could get worse before they get better and it may be prudent to await a wider margin of safety or else evidence of improved trading conditions before piling-in.

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Peter Stephens 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.