Berkeley Group PLC (LON:BKG), the housebuilder, has deferred a planned £455mln payout to shareholders by two years due to the uncertainty created by the coronavirus. (COVID-19) pandemic.
Sales fell by 50% In April and May compared to the year previously, the FTSE100-listed group revealed as it posted its full-year results.
The London and South East-focused builder reported a sharp fall in houses sold, revenues and profits in the twelve months to April 30, 2020. Turnover dropped by 35% to £1.92bn, profits were £504mln from £775mln and the number of units sold fell to 2,720 from 3,690.
In the results statement, Tony Pidgley, Berkeley Group chairman said it was a strong performance in the year just ended but COVID-19 had significantly impacted its operating environment.
The company said the priority is to conserve cash, safeguard the business and ensure that it is in the best possible place once the recovery begins.
Berkeley said it remains committed to shareholder returns through dividends or buybacks of £280mln per annum up until 2025, but the deferral of the £455mln payout will give it the flexibility to acquire land if opportunities arise.
The builder said it still expects profits for the six-year to April 2025 to average out at about £500mln per year.
Published at Wed, 17 Jun 2020 06:37:00 +0000-Berkeley Group pushes back planned payout by two years as sales and profits tumble