StockMarketWire.com - Home builder Barratt Developments pulled its dividends to conserve cash, citing the unprecedented impact of Covid-19.

The company, however, touted 'cautious optimism' as the new financial year got underway, supported by a strong forward order book and well capitalised balance sheet.

Barratt said it would not propose to shareholders at its annual general meeting in October an ordinary dividend for 2020 or a previously announced special dividend of £175m.

In March 2020, the company cancelled its interim dividend of 9.8p per share, which was due to be paid on 11 May.

All operational sites were reopened by 30 June and all employees, other than those shielding, had now recommenced working in the business, the company said.

Completion volumes were significantly hurt by the lockdown period, falling to 12,6041 homes for the year ended 30 June, from 17,856 homes on-year.

The forward order book was 'strong' with total forward sales (including JVs) as at 30 June 2020 of 14,326 homes, up from 11,419 homes last year, at a value of £3,249.7m, up from £2,604.1m.

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