Embattled Hampshire defence firm Chemring has issued a profits warning for the second time in three months as it continues to suffer from contract delays.

The Whiteley-based firm saw shares plunge 16 per cent on the news, which comes after last week's decision to replace chief executive Dr David Price with former Wood Group director Mark Papworth.

Chemring first issued an alert over profits at the end of August, when it warned of a £15 million hit after a deal to help the US military with landmine clearance became its latest contract to suffer delay.

The company, best known for making flares and other countermeasures, is the target of a potential takeover by US private equity group Carlyle.

Chemring revealed it had received a “highly-preliminary expression of interest” from Carlyle in August.

Under the takeover code, Carlyle has until November 9 to make a firm offer or walk away.