- British Land said it would suspend its dividend to preserve its balance sheet and delay its March quarter rent for retail customers amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The company said it would temporarily suspend future dividend payments, including the 2020 third quarter dividend due for payment in May.

It closed on its retail centres in Valentine, Lincoln, after the government announced lockdown measures, but said all others remain open to provide important access to essential stores such as supermarkets and pharmacies.

Overall, as of 25 March, around 200 individual units, 12% of the total, were open.

For other retail, food & beverage and leisure customers experiencing financial challenges because of Covid-19, we are prepared to defer the March quarter day rents and spread repayment over the six quarters from September 2020.

British Land said it estimated the aggregate amount of March deferrals across the group would be about £40m.

'Underlying earnings for the year ending 31 March 2020 are currently expected to be broadly in line with previous expectations, however the independent valuation of our assets as at 31 March 2020 is likely to include a statement from the valuers highlighting the material uncertainty,' British Land said.

At 8:03am: [LON:BLND] British Land Company PLC share price was -21.5p at 347p

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