Australia's Appen plunges to 8-1/2-year low after discounted equity raising

Nov 23 (Reuters) - Appen APX.AX shares tumbled more than 38% on Thursday to hit their lowest in eight-and-a-half years, as the Australian AI firm closed a part of its equity raising after a bleak earnings outlook.

The stock fell as much as 38.4% to A$0.585 by 2349 GMT, hitting its lowest since June 19, 2015, and was the biggest loser on the ASX All Ordinaries Index .AORD.

Appen said on Thursday it had completed the institutional part of its A$30 million ($19.52 million) equity raising announced on Nov. 21, securing A$12 million in total.

The placement was at a discount of 42.1% to Appen's last closing price on Nov. 20.

Earlier this week, Appen said it was considering selling its business amid headwinds from a broader technology market slowdown and as customers evaluate their AI strategies.

The company also said challenging external operating conditions continued into the second half of fiscal 2023.

Appen, which was one of the world's largest AI training providers, has implemented a raft of cost-saving initiatives and seen its executive team being entirely replaced over the last two years.

The company's October year-to-date EBITDA loss widened to $32.8 million, compared with $4.8 million a year earlier, according to a trading update earlier this week.

($1 = 1.5366 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Poonam Behura; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

((Poonam.Behura@thomsonreuters.com;))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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