- Distribution and services company Bunzl pulled its dividend and reported a rise in revenue in the first quarter of year. The company also warned of disruptions as the foodservice and retail sectors were expected to be significantly affected by lockdown measures implemented worldwide to contain the Covid-19 outbreak.

The company said it would no longer propose a final dividend for the year ended 31 December 2019 at the annual general meeting to be held on 15 April 2020.

In a further effort to preserve its balance sheet, the company paused all acquisition activity, including deferring the completion of the purchase of ICM, a distributor of personal protection equipment in Denmark, the proposed acquisition of which was announced in February 2020, until later in the year and it also ceased any non-essential capital expenditure.

Citing uncertainty over the impact from the Covid-19 outbreak, Bunzl withdraw its previous guidance for the year ending December 2020.

The update arrived as the company reported that revenue had increased approximately 4.5%, as the foodservice and retail sectors, which together account for around 35% of group revenue, had been increasingly negatively impacted by the COVID-19 crisis in the latter part of March.

'Looking forward, parts of Bunzl supplying to the foodservice and retail sectors are expected to be significantly affected by the closures being witnessed across the world,' the company said.

At 8:08am: [LON:BNZL] Bunzl PLC share price was -29.75p at 1535.25p

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