After consideration, in light of the uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic, the Reach PLC Board announced on 6 April 2020 that it would no longer propose a final dividend for the financial year ending 2019.
On 28 September 2020, with the Group performing materially ahead of market expectations for 2020, the Board recommended a non-cash bonus issue of shares to shareholders, in lieu of and with a value equivalent to an interim dividend of 2.63 pence per share, which was subsequently approved by shareholders.
In recognition of the importance of a cash dividend to shareholders and considering latest performance, the Board proposes a final dividend of 4.26 pence per share for 2020 (an increase of 5.2% compared to the final dividend originally proposed in 2019). The final dividend which is subject to approval by shareholders at the Annual General Meeting on 6 May 2021 will be paid on 4 June 2021 to shareholders on the register at 14 May 2021.
Other financial highlights include:
Revenue of £600.2m down 14.6% (digital up 10.6%, print down 18.9%) reflects impact of COVID-19
Recovery in print revenues and strong digital exit rate (Q4 up 26%) delivered stronger H2
Adjusted operating profit of £133.8m down 12.8%
Action on costs and higher digital mix support 50bp increase in adjusted operating profit margin to 22.3%
Costs related to transformation and plant closures impact statutory operating profit, down £124.1m
Strong adjusted operating cash flow of £121.8 supports liquidity and net cash balance of £42.0m