- Legal-sector marketing group NAHL suspended its dividend while warning that its outlook for 2020 was now 'significantly lower' than previous expectations, amid pressure on its personal injury division.

The company also confirmed its annual earnings in 2019 would miss its previous expectations.

Underlying earnings for the year through December 2019 were seen between 7.5% and 10% lower than board expectations.

'As previously noted, 2019 was a challenging year,' NAHL said. 'The UK property market contracted further and the group's residential property division made a small loss.'

The personal injury division performed marginally head of expectations in 2019, though it was still hit by competitive pressures.

NAHL said its critical care division traded well in 2019 and that it expected that to continue into 2020.

'Despite the difficult backdrop for the UK property market, the board expects its residential property division to grow, albeit from a smaller base,' the company said.

'In personal injury, there remains considerable uncertainty surrounding key elements of the government's personal injury reforms, originally planned for April 2020.'

'This continues the volatility in the group's panel law firm relationships and is expected to delay growth in case processing within the group's wholly owned law firm, National Accident Law.'

'The board is encouraged by the progress made in transforming the business.'

'However, in order to de-risk the group in the light of market circumstances, the board has decided to slow the deployment of working capital in the PI business and to suspend the company's dividend.'

'Consequently, the board's outlook for 2020 performance is now significantly lower than previous expectations.'

At 10:01am: [LON:NAH] Nahl Group share price was -40.3p at 56.1p

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