May 4, 2018 / 1:29 AM / in a year

UPDATE 1-Australia's Ainsworth Game halves H2 profit estimate, shares plunge

* Sees pre-tax profit around A$20 mln for six months to June

* Previously forecast profit to be “modestly ahead” of A$42.2 mln

* Cites regulatory approval delays, product development changes (Adds share movement, CEO comment, background)

May 4 (Reuters) - Australia’s Ainsworth Game Technology halved its six-month profit forecast on competitive pressure and delays in regulatory approval for its products, sending its shares crashing more than 30 percent to a six-year low.

It expects pre-tax profit, without currency movements, to be around A$20 million ($15 million) for the six months ending June 30. Ainsworth had earlier forecast profit to “modestly ahead” of the A$42.2 million logged in the second half of 2017.

The company cited regulatory approval delays and product development changes that pushed the release of previously scheduled key game titles to the first half of 2019 for the lower six-month outlook.

“We operate in competitive markets and our execution this time has not met the high standards our shareholders correctly deserve,” said Chief Executive Danny Gladstone.

“We are continuing to progress new product developments and marketing initiatives, which we confidently expect to improve our performance in FY19,” added Gladstone.

Pre-tax profit for the full year is expected to be about A$36 million, versus A$57.4 million in the previous financial year, the company added.

Shares of the company were down about 31 percent at A$1.33 amid heavy volumes, on track for their worst session in 16 years, versus the broader market that was mostly steady. ($1 = 1.3280 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Devika Syamnath in Bengaluru; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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