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24 Aug 2020 | 11:30

Henry Boot cuts dividend as profit drops

(Sharecast News) - Henry Boot cut its interim dividend by 40% as the property developer reported a sharp drop in first-half profit caused by the Covid-19 crisis. Pretax profit for the six months to the end of June fell to £7.2m from £24.1m a year earlier as revenue declined to £108.7m from £189m.

Henry Boot declared an interim dividend of 2.2p a share, down from 3.7p a year earlier. The company said the dividend was based on its financial position and long-term confidence.

Financial performance was affected by the fall in business activity caused by Covid-19 and an unflattering comparison with the first half of 2019 when business was boosted by a big property development contract, the company said.

Chairman Jamie Boot said results for the first half were slightly better than expected and that it would reinstate financial guidance for 2020.

Boot said: "While cash management will be a priority, we now feel that the group can continue to look to reinvest in the development pipeline and seek to grow the business. We do not underestimate the trading challenges we will face in the short term, but Henry Boot remains in a strong position to deliver for the long term."

The company said it had £42.3m net cash at the end of June compared with £50.3m net debt a year earlier. Its shares rose 0.4% to 256p at 11:22 BST.

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