- Retirement home builder McCarthy & Stone said it had taken cash reduction measures, including pausing new builds, that would ensure its business could operate without revenue for about 2.5 years.

The company had already previously announced that it had scrapped a 3.5p per share final dividend.

On Wednesday, in a trading update posted on the day of its Annual General Meeting, it said it had introduced other cash saving measures.

These included suspending all marketing activity and pausing new build activity, with the exception of certain specific sites that were close to completion.

Board members and executives were taking a voluntary 20% reduction in basic salary.

McCarthy & Stone said it had a strong balance sheet with a tangible net asset value at 28 February of about £687m and gearing of 8%.

'These are unusual and difficult times,' chief executive John Tonkiss said.

'We continue to make every effort we can to reduce the risk of infection across our developments and have called upon government to ensure that our front-line care staff have access to sufficient personal protective equipment to enable them to carry out their important role in caring for more vulnerable people.'

' We have a strong balance sheet and are now focusing on conserving cash while balancing the long-terms needs of the business, ensuring that we are able to continue to address the chronic under-supply of suitable housing for older people.'

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