StockMarketWire.com - Travel location convenience store group SSP launched a share issue of up to £26.8m, which it said would allow shareholders to reinvest their final dividend back into the company.

SSP also booked a pre-tax loss for the six months through March of £34.3m, compared to a profit of £51.4m on-year, as revenue slipped 3.7% to £1.12bn.

It did not declare an interim dividend for the current financial year amid a collapse in the global travel market.

The issue price of the raising would be determined by a book-build process launched on Wednesday.

SSP's final dividend of 6p share for the previous financial year was approved by shareholders in February and would be paid on 4 June.

'The rationale for the placing is to allow those persons that are beneficially entitled to the 2019 final dividend to re-invest it back in to the company,' SSP said.

Total proceeds from the placing Shares, subscription shares and a retail offer would not exceed £26.8m, being the total value of the 2019 final dividend.

During the year through March, SSP's like-for-like sales dropped 8.4%, having been heavily impacted by Covid-19 and the closure of most of global travel markets.

The company has secured waivers of existing covenant tests until September 2021.

'Covid-19 has had an unprecedented impact on the travel sector,' chief executive Simon Smith said.

'Looking forward, and with sufficient liquidity to manage a pessimistic trading scenario, I believe the actions we have been taking during this crisis will make us a fitter and stronger business, well placed to deliver for all our stakeholders as the travel market recovers.'

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