Shares in defence group Chemring fell on Tuesday after its Chief Executive Officer left with immediate effect as it posted wider half-year losses and admitted end markets remained "challenging".
The group, which has appointed a new CEO, also cautioned that foreign exchange
headwinds would continue to have an impact on its second-half performance though its outlook for the full year remained "broadly unchanged".
Chemring confirmed the promotion of its Countermeasures Director Michael Flowers as its CEO, saying he had taken up the role with immediate effect. He has 13 years experience in senior management positions within the defence industry.
In line with its expectations, revenue from continuing operations declined from £225.4m to £208.8m year-on-year, while underlying profit before tax dropped from £19.1m to £13.4m, and earnings per share fell to 5.4p from 7.4p. Net debt was reduced to £229.2m from £275.1m a year earlier.
Chairman Peter Hickson said the group has made "important progress" in the period, re-focusing its operations and strengthening the balance sheet "to create greater flexibility to invest for growth".
"As a result [of the European munitions business] we are now moving to a position where we can take advantage of the stronger platform that has been created," he continued. "The appointment of Michael Flowers, with his proven track record, both within the international defence industry and within Chemring, places us in a strong position to build on our world leading technologies and market positions in Countermeasures, Sensors & Electronics and Energetic Systems.
"While end markets remain challenging and customer behaviour difficult to predict, we will continue to drive operational efficiencies. We are also pursuing growth opportunities, particularly in non-NATO and commercial markets."
AIM-listed customer loyalty systems developer Universe Group sent its shares
south on Tuesday after Chairman Robert Goddard admitted to doubts about the timing of major contracts.
Speaking at the company's annual general meeting, Goddard said Universe's second half performance remained dependent on its ability to secure certain large-scale roll-outs, admitting that the timing of these was "uncertain".
Goddard said that its current trading was in line with the previous year, having seen further progress with the establishment of new products into both existing and new customers.
"The outturn for the financial year will be weighted towards the second half, and remains dependent on securing certain large-scale roll-outs and while we are confident of securing them, their timing is uncertain," Goddard said at the group's annual general meeting.