Burger and frozen food supplier Canterbury Foods has dismayed shareholders with a £9m write-down on its meat business that pushed first half losses to £11.5m.

The company warned in July that high beef and energy costs and lower food prices meant that its margins were under pressure.

But the scale of losses – £1.7m before goodwill and exceptionals, compared to £90,000 the year before – shocked investors into selling off the stock.

The company’s share price dropped 25% to 7.5p on Thursday, 22 September, down from nearly 30p in June.

Net debt was also up, reaching £19.1m at the end of June, and the firm said it was actively looking at ways to reduce the pile.

It may yet sell off parts of the business to raise cash, after fending off an offer earlier in the year because it was deemed unsatisfactory.

Chief executive Paul Ainsworth said Canterbury had already won new business, and was in talks was more potential customers.