In conjunction with its annual results on 17 March 2020, the Company confirmed a dividend target of 7.0p per share for FY2020. Given the necessary UK Government intervention in response to COVID-19 since that date, visibility over the economic impact and duration of the pandemic has reduced significantly. This has resulted in a slowdown in the occupational markets and increased the likelihood of delays in areas such as planning and construction. The Board therefore considers it prudent to withdraw its dividend guidance for the current financial year.
The high-quality nature of their portfolio, strong financial position and diverse customer base provides them with the confidence to continue paying an attractive quarterly dividend. The Board has today declared a quarterly dividend for the period 1 January to 31 March 2020 of 1.5625p per share. It believes this is a conservative level allowing the Company to continue to deliver on its business plans whilst noting that the duration and effects of COVID-19 may be extended. They believe this is in the long-term interests of shareholders.
They will continue to monitor the dividend position for FY2020 with potential to increase the quarterly dividend when they have better visibility.