- Housing-sector services provider Mears swung to a first-half loss and scrapped its interim dividend as the Covid-19 crisis hurt contract revenue.

Pre-tax losses for the six months through June amounted to £11.5m, compared to a profit of £12.1m on-year. Revenue fell 7.3% to £407.0m.

Mears said the pandemic required many maintenance contracts to move to an emergency-only basis, resulting in short-term reduction in volumes, revenues and profits.

Tendering processes for new maintenance contracts also were impacted by Covid-19, though new contracts were secured to the value of £120m, Mears said.

Revenues in the management division, meanwhile, were largely unaffected by Covid-19, having risen 54%, driven by a new contract with AASC.

Looking ahead, Mears said a recovery in activity levels was expected in the maintenance division during the second half, as working arrangements progressively return towards more normal levels.

'Inevitably, the Covid-19 crisis has impacted short-term financial performance in these results, particularly as maintenance contract volumes reduced to emergency-only to protect the safety of staff and service users alike,' chief executive David Miles said.

'Activity levels are returning to normal, and I am very confident as to the financial stability and the long-term wellbeing of the group.'

'The group has taken positive and considered actions during the Covid-19 period to ensure that the group is stronger than ever and well positioned once the UK sees a return towards normality.'

At 9:25am: [LON:MER] Mears Group PLC share price was +9.25p at 124.75p

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