In March 2020, the Hill & Smith Board made the decision to cancel the 2019 final dividend as a prudent measure to preserve £18m of cash given the COVID-19 related business closures and high levels of uncertainty. Given the improving trading performance and more positive outlook going into the third quarter, announced the resumption of dividend payments with the declaration of an interim dividend for 2020 of 9.2p per share in August 2020. Based on the strong trading performance and cash generation in the second half, the Board is recommending a final dividend of 17.5p per share, making a total dividend for the year of 26.7p per share. Underlying dividend cover remains a conservative 2.4 times.
The Board understands the importance of dividends to our shareholders and our approach remains on maintaining dividends that are both sustainable and progressive. The final dividend, if approved, will be paid on 9 July 2021 to those shareholders on the register at the close of business on 4 June 2021.