Shares in G8 Education fell hard after the child care operator released a profit warning.
A short time ago, the shares were down 21% to $3.47.
The company is now forecasting underlying earnings of $160 million for 2017, down from previous guidance of mid-$170 million.
Managing Director Gary Carroll says he expects market conditions to be challenging for the next six to nine months.
Among the issues hitting the business are sluggish wage growth and employment conditions in regions such as North Queensland, and a change in regulatory requirements for staffing ratios during breaks in NSW, South Australia and Victoria.