StockMarketWire.com - Bus and rail group Stagecoach warned on profits and said it was unlikely to pay a final dividend as the spreading coronavirus and government efforts to contain it crimp demand for travel.

'Given the uncertainties caused by the impact of COVID-19, we currently consider it unlikely that we will propose any further dividends in respect of the year ending 2 May 2020,' Stagecoach said.

The company said it had over £290m of available cash and undrawn, committed bank facilities to underpin the continuity of the business.

Stagecoach said it had been on course to meet its adjusted earnings guidance for the full year, but the quickly development COVID-19 situation meant it no longer expected to achieve its previous expectation.

'Whilst we continue to monitor the situation closely, it is too early to predict reliably the effect on profit,' Stagecoach said.

'We have taken decisive action, and have contractual protections in place, to help the business withstand this more challenging period.'

Measures taken included reducing the cost base and capital expenditure, cutting regional bus mileage and slashing director salaries by 50%.

'We are all facing an unprecedented challenge at this time and the impact is being felt by our business and employees as with many others,' chief executive Martin Griffiths said.

'Importantly, we have good liquidity and are taking the right, decisive actions to help mitigate as much of the impact of the current situation as we can.'

'We are also working hard with our industry partners, government and local authorities on measures to protect public transport for the long-term.'

'Our bus, coach and tram services are hugely important to our country's economy and communities, even more so at this time.'




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