Thursday will bring full-year figures from Pennon Group PLC (LON:PNN), with many investors likely hoping for more clarity on what the utility firm plans to pay out to shareholders over the next five years.
Over the previous five years, the policy has been to increase the dividend by at least 4% above inflation annually, however with water companies about to face a more difficult future following a tough Ofwat review in February covering 2020-25 the firm could decide to make its payout less generous alongside peers Severn Trent and United Utilities, who have both said they will only increase the dividend in line with inflation each year.
However, investors may care less about this than normal as, due to firms cutting and suspending dividends across the board amid the coronavirus pandemic, the utility sector has become even more of a haven than usual.
While these firms are perhaps shielded from the fallout to some extent, they could see their business come under pressure if more customers find themselves unable to pay their bills.
However, Pennon’s balance sheet may be in a better position than most having recently pocketed £4.2bn from the sale of its waste recycling business Viridor.
Intermediate Capital hopes for better future
In January, the company was managing around €42.6bn of assets under administration and saw a solid inflow of around €4.6bn in its interim results which allowed it to lift its dividend to 15p, however, since then the group's shares have been hit hard by the coronavirus crisis and it has lost around 50% of its market value.
As a result, shareholders are likely to be focused on any updates about the group’s surrounding operations as well as how it hopes to mitigate the impact of the crisis and its outlook for demand in the future.
Significant events expected on Thursday:
Economic data: US weekly jobless claims, UK construction PMI