Smith & Nephew PLC (LON:SN.) has maintained its interim dividend despite tumbling to a loss for the first half of the year as the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic led to the cancellation of non-emergency surgeries.
However, the orthopaedic, sports injury and wound management group pointed to a pickup in numbers of surgeries in recent months, recently revealing that revenues in June were down only 12% year on year.
Revenue for the first six months of 2020 of £2.04bn was down 18% on last time, leading to a loss before tax of £34mln from the £383mln profit a year ago.
Cash generated from operations fell to £125mln from £543mln, with net debt increasing by US$490mln in the period to US$2.1bn.
No financial guidance was provided for the second half, as the FTSE 100-listed group said that while it was encouraged by the improved performance in recent months, “there continues to be significant uncertainty and geographical variation as COVID-19 continues to impact our major markets”.
In the results statement, Smith & Nephew chief executive Roland Diggelmann added that the board has taken measures to ensure the group emerges from this crisis as strongly as possible, including keeping up R&D investment, launching new products, protecting jobs and managing the cost base.
The interim dividend of 14.4 cents per share, which equates to 11.2p per share at prevailing exchange rates, is the same as this time last year, though the board expressed its intention to return to a progressive dividend policy