Engie scraps 2019 dividend, withdraws guidance due to coronavirus outbreak
PARIS (Reuters) – French energy group Engie <ENGIE.PA> said on Wednesday it would scrap its 2019 dividend payout and withdrew its 2020 guidance due to the coronavirus outbreak which it said would have a significant impact on its operations and customers.
The company, whose operations span the globe and include nuclear, gas and services, said it would provide an updated financial outlook to 2022 at a later date.
“Our decision to cancel Engie’s 2019 dividend payment has been made in light of continuing uncertainties as to the depth and duration of this unprecedented crisis,” Engie Chairman Jean-Pierre Clamadieu said in a statement.
Engie said the impact of the outbreak on the its financial outlook remained unquantifiable at this stage, and was subject to uncertain assumptions regarding the length and profile of the crisis.
The company has joined others by cancelling plans to pay dividends and reviewing its outlook due to the outbreak which has led to slowdown in global economic activity.
Engie had planned a dividend payment of 0.80 euros per share for 2019, and was targeting earnings before interest, taxes and depreciation (EBITDA) of between 10.5 billion and 10.9 billion euros ($11.5 billion-$11.9 billion) this year.
The company said it had a one of the strongest balance sheets in the sector, with 16.4 billion euros of liquidity, including 8.6 billion euros of cash, at end of February.
It issued a triple tranche senior bond for a total of 2.5 billion euros on March 20 to further improve its financial position, it said.
Engie said the impact of the crisis on global supply chains, client operations and demand has been progressive, exceeding previous expectations, while the magnitude of impact varies.
(Reporting by Bate Felix and Benjamin Mallet; Editing by Edmund Blair)