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Berkeley Group cancels extra £455mln cash payout

Rather than the promised £500mln, Berkeley said it will now revert back to its old plan and pay a £125mln dividend at the end of March

Berkeley Group -

Berkeley Group Holdings PLC (LON:BKG) has shelved its extra £455mln shareholder payout “until there is greater clarity” about the impact of coronavirus on UK economic activity.

The FTSE 100 housebuilder had only announced the mix of extra dividends and share buybacks in late January, promising a £500mln payment at the end of this month.

But on Thursday morning Berkeley said it will now revert back to its old plan and pay a £125mln dividend on 31 March.

With net cash of at least £1bn at the date of the statement, with a further £750mln of bank facilities available, the company also felt comfortable to commit to paying another £140mln by the end of September.

The board said it is “on track” to meet expectations for its current year to 30 April, where a profit before tax of £555mln is pencilled in, “assuming a measured outcome to the effect of coronavirus”.

“There has been no noticeable impact on Berkeley's business to date, the ultimate impact on UK business is unknown,” it said.

“The board is keen to stress that it currently still intends to make the enhanced returns but will reassess this in our full year results announcement in June, by when it is indicated the effect of coronavirus will be more measurable and certain.”

Shares in the company were down 7% to 3,780p by late morning on Thursday.

Quick facts: Berkeley Group

Price: 4431 GBX

Market: LSE
Market Cap: £5.57 billion

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