Wednesday 15 April 2020 8:45 am

Coronavirus: Ferguson scraps dividend and $500m share buyback

Ferguson has scrapped its dividend and suspended its $500m share buyback as the plumbing and heating business seeks to preserve cash during the coronavirus crisis.

The firm also said the demerger of its Wolseley UK business “remains on track” to be completed this year but it will “require market conditions to normalise by the latter part of the year”. 

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The $500m share buyback, which was announced in February, has been shelved during the pandemic. By the end of March, Ferguson had already completed around $100m of the programme. 

Ferguson has also decided not to pay the interim dividend that was due on 30 April. 

Ferguson has paused merger and acquisition activity, having invested $340m in six businesses during the financial year, 

Additionally, the company has implemented a hiring freeze and temporary lay offs in the worst hit regions to reduce expenditure during the outbreak.

Chief executive Kevin Murphy said: “Given the significant challenges of Covid-19 we have adjusted our operations rapidly to both safeguard the health and wellbeing of our associates but also to support essential services in our local markets. 

“We would like to thank our associates for their commitment and dedication to our business and we are incredibly proud of their efforts in recent weeks as we support key industries.

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“Ferguson is a strong and resilient business and our business model remains attractive and cash generative. 

“We are taking appropriate actions on cost and cashflow given the uncertain near-term trading outlook. We have good liquidity which positions us well to navigate this period of uncertainty and to support the recovery when the effects of Covid-19 subside.”