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11 Mar 2021 | 07:09

Morrisons pays special dividend as annual profits halved

(Sharecast News) - Supermarket chain Morrisons saw annual profits halved as it was impacted by extra Covid-19 costs, but also declared a special dividend alongside a final payout. Profit before tax and exceptionals fell 50.7% to £201m, including £290m in direct Covid-19 costs. Group like-for-like sales ex-fuel/ex-VAT rose 8.6%, with final quarter like-for-like sales up 9.0%.

A special dividend of 4p a share deferred from the second half of the 2019/20 fiscal year was declared along with a final dividend of 5.11p.

"We expect 2021/22 profit before tax and exceptionals including rates paid to be higher than the £431m profit achieved in 2020/21 excluding the £230m waived (business) rates relief," the company said, adding that it expected strong free cash flow and a significant reduction in net debt.

"This target assumes a gradual return to more normal trading conditions, no significant increases in expected direct Covid-19 costs such as elevated colleague absence, and no further restrictions such as another period of prolonged café closures."
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