Henry Boot Plc - FCA Moratorium on Publication of Results
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HENRY BOOT PLC
FCA MORATORIUM ON PUBLICATION OF RESULTS
Henry Boot PLC announces today that it will be complying with the Financial Conduct Authority's (FCA) request to all listed companies to delay the publication of preliminary financial statements for at least two weeks.
The Group, together with our auditors, were working towards the release of the preliminary results on the 31 March 2020, however, given the COVID-19 situation, and the request from the FCA, we will no longer do so. We will provide a revised date for the communication of our full year financial results when we receive further guidance from the FCA and other regulatory authorities.
In our trading statement, released on 20 January 2020, we stated that the Group's performance for the year to 31 December 2019 was marginally lower than the Board's original expectations, driven by lower rental income after the successful sales of our retail focused investments. These sales meant that the Group ended 2019 with higher than anticipated net cash of £27m.
Since this statement, trading during the first two months of 2020 has been marginally ahead of the Board's expectation and this, coupled with our conservative cash management in response to the COVID-19 situation, has resulted in net cash increasing to £47m.
In response to the unprecedented uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 situation, the business has focused on three areas in order to serve all stakeholders to the best of our abilities:
Safety and welfare
Our primary concern from the outset has been the welfare of our people, their families, customers and the communities in which we operate. In February, a committee was formed to develop a Coronavirus action plan, providing guidance to all staff on safety and welfare.
Our office network is closed apart from very limited cover in the event of emergencies; however, we continue to operate with our people working remotely.
The latest indications are that construction activity will be required to cease, however, we are seeking clarification on this. In the meantime, we are following strict safety precautions and are preparing to close the sites, if required. The vast majority of the development work ongoing is either pre-sold or pre-let and we are limiting future activity.
The Group has a very strong financial base, a strong balance sheet and net cash of circa £47m at 23 March 2020 (£27m at the 31 December 2019 year-end). In addition, we retain a secured, committed facility of up to £75m. We have taken measures to actively manage cash and curtail both capital and revenue expenditure.
As we look forward now into an uncertain and challenging time, we are taking a prudent and vigilant approach to all areas of our business, minimising risk, monitoring developments carefully and responding decisively as appropriate.
Chief Executive Officer, Tim Roberts said:
"Over recent weeks we have been preparing the business to close down operations and to function remotely. Our strong balance sheet, plus the cash reserves we have built up, position us for the uncertain times ahead."