StockMarketWire.com - Medical technology company Smith and Nephew said it expected its first-quarter revenue to fall 8% and withdrew its annual financial guidance, citing the Covid-19 pandemic.

The company also said it expected its second-quarter revenue and first-half trading margin to be 'substantially down' on the prior year.

'In China elective procedures have restarted, but currently remain considerably below pre-outbreak levels,' Smith and Nephew said.

'In Europe and the US a range of policy responses are now being implemented, including stopping all but the most urgent surgical procedures.'

'It is difficult to determine how long the situation will last, the speed of normalisation thereafter, and the timing of catch-up of postponed procedures.'

Smith and Nephew said it had a strong balance sheet with access to significant liquidity.

As of 31 December, it had net debt of $1.6bn compared to committed facilities of $2.9bn, as well as a further $550m of senior notes.

The company also urged shareholders not to attend its annual general meeting next week in person, in light of government moves to curb the spread of Covid-19.

The meeting would still go ahead as planned on 9 April, but with the minimum necessary quorum of two shareholders.

All valid proxy votes, whether submitted electronically or in hard copy form, would be included in the poll to be taken at the meeting.

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