Friday 3 April 2020 9:39 am

Fuller's suspends dividend during closure of pub estate

Fuller’s has suspended its dividend as part of cost-cutting measures during the closure of its entire pub estate amid the coronavirus lockdown.

Like a number of firms exposed to the impact of the coronavirus lockdown, the Fuller’s board has decided to preserve further cash and suspend the final dividend.

Read more: Coronavirus: Thousands of UK pubs and restaurants at risk of collapse

The pub firm said it had placed the vast majority of its employees in furlough, retaining a small number in key positions to maintain critical functions and deliver the year-end financial reporting process.

Fuller’s said where 80 per cent of employees’ regular wage exceeds the government cap of £2,500 per month, the company will top up to the payment to the 80 per cent level.

The government ordered the closure of all pubs, restaurants and clubs in order to slow the spread of coronavirus. The leisure sector has already seen the impact of the lockdown with high street chains Carluccio’s and Chiquito appointing administrators.

Fuller’s other cost-cutting measures include the suspension of all non-essential capital spend and Fuller’s said it is negotiating with suppliers to reduce costs further.

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Chief executive Simon Emeny said: “We have implemented a wide range of measures that will impact all our stakeholders, but will protect the business and ensure that we emerge in a strong position to build for the future.”

“We are supporting our tenants by cancelling commercial rent payments, we will not be proposing a final dividend, we have placed over 95% of our team members in furlough and my Board colleagues and I have taken a 25% reduction in pay.

Read more: Coronavirus: Closed pubs and restaurants face multi-million pound rent bill

“These are unprecedented times – but we look forward to the day we reopen our doors, get our teams back together and are ready to welcome our customers back into our pubs and hotels and deliver the outstanding hospitality that Fuller’s is famous for,” he added.

Shares in Fuller’s are down 1.44 per cent.

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