Wednesday 25 March 2020 3:15 pm

Coronavirus: Barratt Developments scraps dividend

Housebuilder Barratt Developments has scrapped its £100m payout to shareholders over the business uncertainty caused by coronavirus. 

Barratt, which has closed all of its sites, said it expects the coronavirus outbreak to have a “significant impact” on construction output and reservations and has cancelled all previous financial guidance.

The company said that due to the “uncertainties caused by the impact of Covid-19” it is appropriate to cancel the interim dividend of 9.8p per share, which was due to be paid on 11 May. 

The company has suspended all land buying activity, stopped recruitment, postponed non-essential capital expenditure and is “actively managing cash flows”. 

In a statement this afternoon the developer said: “The board recognises the importance of dividends as a part of overall shareholder returns and will consider dividends at the time of announcing the full year results in September taking into account the position on COVID-19.”

Until last week Barratt’s trading performance was in line with expectations, delivering 10,364 home completions in the period to 22 March. Forward sales are strong at 13,836 homes and a value of £3.29bn. 

However, as the outbreak of coronavirus has picked up pace in the UK, and since the government introduced social distancing guidlands, there has been a reduction in reservations and site visitors and a spike in cancellations, the firm said.