Travis Perkins said that it had yet to see any impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on its trading – with sales up 2.4% to date – but it recognises that this is certain to change very soon.
In a trading statement today the company said: “The group expects the trading environment to change quickly and materially in the coming weeks. In response to this, the board is taking prudent decisions in order to successfully navigate this period of turmoil. These include the suspension of the proposed full-year 2019 dividend and the pausing of the Wickes demerger process in light of current extreme stock market volatility.”
The plan is to float Wickes as a separate stock market listed company.
“Good progress has been made in recent months to prepare for the separation of Wickes,” Travis Perkins said today. “However, given the current level of uncertainty surrounding the impact of Covid-19 on the group's end markets, as well as the extreme volatility in global and UK equity markets, the board has concluded that it would be prudent to pause the Wickes demerger process so that the board and our colleagues can focus on managing the group through the current challenges.
“Whilst it is impossible to know exactly when it will be appropriate to re-start the demerger process, the intent to demerge remains unchanged, and we believe that we are in an advanced state of preparedness and would hope to be able to move forward swiftly when it is appropriate to do so.”