Fuller, Smith & Turner Plc - COVID-19 and Dividend Update
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Fuller, Smith & Turner PLC
COVID-19 and Dividend Update
Fuller, Smith & Turner PLC ("Fuller's" or "the Company"), the premium pubs and hotels business, today provides the following update in response to the ongoing impact of COVID-19 and the current closure of its entire Managed and Tenanted pub estate.
The Company has placed the vast majority of its employees in furlough, retaining a small number in key positions to maintain critical functions and deliver the year-end financial reporting process. Fuller's is grateful for the Government's financial assistance to employees in furlough and, where 80% of their regular wage exceeds the Government cap of £2,500 per month, the Company has committed to top up the payment to the 80% level.
During the current closure of the entire estate, steps have been taken to minimise all outgoings and to preserve cash. The Company has suspended all non-essential capital spend and is negotiating across its supplier base to reduce costs further.
As stated in the previous announcement on 23 March 2020, Fuller's has an excellent relationship and open dialogue with its lending banks, and the Company is well financed with a healthy balance sheet and significant liquidity headroom. However, in light of the unprecedented current situation - especially the uncertainty as to how long the emergency regulations will last - and to ensure the Company is in the best possible financial position with maximum flexibility, the Board has taken the decision not to propose a final dividend on the Company's ordinary shares for the year ended 28 March 2020, thereby preserving further cash (FY2019 final dividend: £6.8 million).
Chief Executive Simon Emeny said: "We have implemented a wide range of measures that will impact all our stakeholders, but will protect the business and ensure that we emerge in a strong position to build for the future. We are supporting our tenants by cancelling commercial rent payments, we will not be proposing a final dividend, we have placed over 95% of our team members in furlough and my Board colleagues and I have taken a 25% reduction in pay.
"I would like to thank all my colleagues for their support and the way they have positively engaged in these decisions. I have been so proud of the way they have reacted with understanding and compassion. These are unprecedented times - but we look forward to the day we reopen our doors, get our teams back together and are ready to welcome our customers back into our pubs and hotels and deliver the outstanding hospitality that Fuller's is famous for."