Shares in Pro Cook tumbled after it became the latest company to feel the squeeze from the cost-of-living crisis.
The cookware retailer – which was set up in a Gloucestershire cottage in 1996 and listed on the stock market in London last year – warned profits this year would come in between £4m and £6m.
That compares with an expected £10m profit last year, though it has yet to report figures for the 12 months to April 3 2022.
Cutting back: Pro Cook warned profits this year would come in between £4m and £6m
Pro Cook was set up when Daniel O’Neill and his mother Peggy sold pots and pans from their cottage in Cheltenham.
O’Neill, who is still chief executive, said ‘clear and numerous pressures on consumers’ have hit spending – including on the kitchen goods it sells online such as knives, plates and chopping boards.
‘Whilst we are still seeing lots of new customers discovering the Pro Cook brand and buying our products, it is clear that many are tightening their belts,’ he said.
‘This creates a difficult short-term trading environment.’ Pro Cook said it now expects revenues for the year to be ‘broadly in line’ with the £69.2m it made last year.
Shares fell 40.3 per cent, or 31.4p, to 46.6p, wiping £18.4m off the value of the stake held by O’Neill and his family.
The stock has lost 68 per cent of its value since listing on the stock market in November at 145p a share. Its value has fallen from £158m to just £51m. On a day of turmoil on financial markets, the FTSE 100 index fell 2.1 per cent, or 158.69 points, to 7317.52 and the FTSE250 was down 2 per cent, or 400.08 points, to 19,673.32. The sell-off was mirrored around the world and came after official figures showed inflation in the US hit 8.6pc last month – the highest level for more than 40 years.
There were also mounting concerns of fresh Covid lockdown measures in China.
With the global economic outlook darkening, mining stocks took a hit as metal prices fell. Aluminium prices fell 3 per cent to their lowest level in nearly six months while copper was down nearly 2 per cent.
‘Copper is coming under several sorts of pressure,’ said Nitesh Shah, commodity strategist at exchange-traded fund provider WisdomTree.
‘The lockdowns aren’t ending as quickly as hoped and China’s zero-Covid policy is very damaging for economic growth.
‘You’ve also got central banks in other parts of the world maintaining a very hawkish tilt and that puts into question whether economic growth outside of China is going to decelerate faster.’
In the FTSE100, Anglo American fell 7.5 per cent, or 291.5p, to 3613p, Glencore dropped 5.2 per cent, or 27.7p to 505.5p and Rio Tinto slipped 3.6 per cent, or 210p, to 5690p.
FTSE 250 commodity trading and mining company Ferrexpo fell 8.7 per cent, or 15.6p, to 164.3p.
Back in the top flight, safety equipment maker Halma fell 3.4 per cent, or 74p, to 2088p after analysts at Jefferies cut its target price to 1960p from 2200p ahead of next week’s full-year results.
While China accounts for around 7 per cent of the group’s revenue, this was well below the 15 per cent that had been expected to be met by as long ago as 2015.
Jefferies also reiterated its ‘underperform’ rating, citing some of Halma’s ‘high-quality peers’ who are more exposed to China.
In the second tier, investment firm Apax Global said the Apax X Fund has sold its controlling stake in MyCase, provider of cloudbased legal practice management software and payment services, for around £19.2m to rival AffiniPay.
Apax Funds said it will still hold a small stake in MyCase following the deal. Shares climbed 11.7 per cent, or 21p, to 200p.