COVID-19 update, withdrawal of dividend and AGM
ARROW GLOBAL GROUP PLC ("Arrow Global" or the "Company", together with its subsidiaries the "Group")
COVID-19 update, withdrawal of dividend and Annual General Meeting
6 April 2020
Responding to the COVID-19 Virus
As noted within the Group's preliminary results on 12 March 2020, the Company's foremost concern regarding the rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus has been to safeguard the health and wellbeing of our colleagues and ensure continuity of service for our customers and clients. We now have nearly 100% of Arrow Global employees across our five countries working from home with full operational capability. This has allowed the Company to continue to operate at high efficiency levels.
Balance sheet conservatism and 2019 final dividend update
Whilst we are still yet to see a meaningful operational and financial impact on the Group so far, in light of the current uncertainty caused by COVID-19 and its impact on economic activity, the Board believes that conserving capital and maximising financial flexibility is in the long-term best interests of the business and all its stakeholders. Accordingly, the Board is no longer recommending the final dividend of 8.7p per ordinary share for the year ended 31 December 2019 that was announced with the full year 2019 results on 12 March 2020. As a result, a resolution to approve the 2019 final dividend payment of 8.7p per ordinary share will not now be proposed at the Annual General Meeting ("AGM").
Whilst we believe that the Group's strong financial position and resilient business model leaves us well placed to navigate this period of uncertainty, the Board views the cash saving of approximately £15 million from the decision to withdraw the dividend to be prudent and in line with the Group's approach to minimising financial risk. The Board will continue to assess the most appropriate methods of capital allocation as the year progresses, including the level of Investment Business portfolio purchases. Arrow Global enjoys a strong liquidity position at present with £153.0 million of headroom as of 31 March 2020 and no debt facilities maturing until 2024.
This decision in no way diminishes the Board's confidence in the long-term outlook for the Group and the strength of the through-the-cycle model, which is set up to withstand reasonable downside scenarios and to take advantage of investment opportunities as they arise.
At this stage, given the level of continued uncertainty around economic activity, it is not possible to provide financial guidance for the 2020 financial year.
The Group will announce Q1 results for the three months ending 31 March 2020 on 14 May 2020.
Arrow Global's seventh AGM will be held on Tuesday, 2 June 2020 at 9:30am at Arrow Global, 2nd Floor, 6 Duke Street, St James's, London SW1Y 6BN.
However, in view of the current Stay at Home Measures enacted by the UK government on 26 March 2020 in response to the outbreak of COVID-19, shareholders will not be permitted to attend the AGM in person and anyone seeking to attend will be refused entry, unless the measures are lifted by the date of the meeting and the Board considers it safe for shareholders to do so. The format of the meeting will be purely functional, involving the minimum possible number of attendees in person to allow the meeting to take place in accordance with legal requirements. Shareholders should vote by proxy and are asked to appoint the Chair of the meeting as their proxy, rather than a named person who will not be permitted to attend the meeting. Given the situation is continuing to evolve, it may be necessary to change the arrangements for this year's AGM. Please check the Company's website and regulatory announcements for any further updates prior to the meeting.
A further announcement regarding the publication of the Annual Report and Notice of AGM will be made in due course.
This announcement contains inside information
Duncan Browne, Head of Investor Relations
+44 (0) 7925 643 385
+44 (0)20 3727 1051
Forward looking statements
This document contains statements that constitute forward-looking statements relating to the business, financial performance and results of the Group and the industry in which the Group operates. These statements may be identified by words such as "expectation", "belief", "estimate", "plan", "target", or "forecast" and similar expressions or the negative thereof; or by the forward-looking nature of discussions of strategy, plans or intentions; or by their context. All statements regarding the future are subject to inherent risks and uncertainties and various factors could cause actual future results, performance or events to differ materially from those described or implied in these statements. Such forward-looking statements are based on numerous assumptions regarding the Group's present and future business strategies and the environment in which the Group will operate in the future. Further, certain forward-looking statements are based upon assumptions of future events which may not prove to be accurate and neither the Company, the Group nor any other person accepts any responsibility for the accuracy of the opinions expressed in this document or the underlying assumptions. The forward-looking statements in this document speak only as at the date of this presentation and the Company and the Group assume no obligation to update or provide any additional information in relation to such forward-looking statements.
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