Shares in estate agent Countrywide dropped over 20 percent at market open on Monday, after the group reported weaker earnings than initially expected.

Longer transaction cycles and a subdued market had held back earnings, which will be lower than in the same period last year. The group also confirmed its intention to raise fresh funds in a bid to slash its debt burden

Adjusted earnings are now expected to be around £20 million lower in the first half, Countrywide said. In the first half the group posted an adjusted ebitda of just £28.1 million, after a “ disappointing year”.

“Our focus remains on building back the sales pipeline and we expect to substantially close the pipeline gap by the end of the year. We will provide full year guidance and a detailed recovery plan at the interim results on 26 July 2018,” the company said.

Shares in Countrywide (LON:CWD) are currently trading down 21.72 percent at 61.45 (0938GMT).