- Retirement home developer McCarthy & Stone scrapped its dividend while predicting the coronavirus and government attempts to contain it would have a 'material impact' on its financial performance in the coming months.

McCarthy & Stone said it had decided to withdraw its 3.5p per share final dividend for 2019.

The UK government on Monday announced protective measures including likely self-isolation for those over 70 for an initial period of around three months.

The elderly are most at risk of serious harm from the novel respiratory disease.

'At this stage, it is too early to speculate on the full extent of the resulting impact on our financial performance for the full year and beyond,' McCarthy & Stone said.

'However, we do anticipate an inevitable material impact on trading in the coming months.'

The company said its immediate priority was the health and safety of its residents, employees and contractors.

'We have been taking every step we can to reduce the risk of infection across our developments to the extent possible within the concept of independent living,' it said.

'We are working closely with our regional teams and our house and estate managers to put in place appropriate preventative measures following and, in many cases, exceeding the advice from government and Public Health England.'

McCarthy & Stone said it had a 'strong' balance sheet had had taken action to fully draw down its £200m revolving cash facility, resulting in a current available cash balance of £127m.

'The board is currently evaluating a number of actions to balance the preservation of cash with the long-term needs of the business,' it added.

'Given the current need for prudent cash management, the board has decided to withdraw Resolution 4 in relation to the final dividend payment of 3.5p per ordinary share that was to be proposed at the forthcoming Annual General Meeting on 25 March 2020.'

At 1:25pm: [LON:MCS] Mccarthy Stone PLC share price was -10.75p at 78.25p

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