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Laird supplies components to a number of smartphone makers, including Apple Getty Images

Shares in Laird lost almost half of their value, plunging to their lowest level since early 2012 after the technology group issued a profit warning on Wednesday (19 October).

The FTSE 250-listed group blamed the decision to lower its profit outlook for the full year on increased margin pressure and on an expected increase in production of mobile phones, which did not materialise.

As a result, the group's performance material arm endured a "very challenging trading performance" in the three months to the end of September, forcing it to lower its profit guidance for annual underlying profit to £50m ($61.4m), compared with analysts expectations for a figure in the £75m region.

"We are very disappointed by these adverse developments in the mobile devices market for our performance materials division, at a time when other parts of the business continue to perform well," said group chief executive Tony Quinlan, who was promoted from finance director in August to replace former CEO David Lockwood.

"We are confident that the actions we have taken will stabilise and improve the business."

Lockwood's decision to quit was unexpected and prompted speculations the company would fail to meet its financial targets for 2016.

Laird, which supplies components to a number of smartphone makers including Apple, added favourable currency movements drove sales in the quarter up 29% year-on-year to £207m, while in the year to date sales are up 20% to £560m on a reported basis.

Underlying revenues, however, were 4% lower than in the corresponding period in 2015.

Despite the profit warning, Quinlan said the company has begun to cut costs in a bid to rescue its performance material division, adding the work to improve the operating model was "on track".