Science Group flags decent full-year profit, announces interim divi
Science Group updated the market on its “cautious approach” to the Covid-19 crisis on Thursday, explaining that since the outbreak of coronavirus it had minimised its expenditure and retained cash.
The AIM-traded firm said that included deferring annual salary reviews, slowing recruitment activity, minimising discretionary activities and suspending shareholder dividends.
Although it reported “excellent” interim results in July, it reiterated at the time that due to the inherent uncertainty, a prudent operating model would be maintained.
Over the summer, the group had continued to perform “satisfactorily”, with a “notably sharp” recovery in the Frontier business offsetting minor adjustments in other areas.
During the past few months, most of the group's business operations had been able to continue to operate.
Around 5% of staff were placed under the UK furlough scheme and, as of 1 September, no staff remained on furlough.
At the Group's main sites, a model of around 60-40 office-home working arrangements was continuing, in order to facilitate social distancing, which was being reviewed regularly.
“While the future economic environment remains unpredictable and the more recent currency volatility is being closely monitored, Science Group is well positioned with a strong balance sheet including gross cash, excluding client held funds, at 31 August of £22m, and net funds of £4.9m,” the board said in its statement.
“In light of the resilient performance, benefitting from the rapid actions taken at the start of the pandemic outbreak, the board anticipates adjusted operating profit for 2020 to be in line or possibly slightly ahead of the group's original expectations for the year.”
The directors said they had therefore now undertaken the deferred group salary review, and also initiated a number of deferred investment programmes.
“In line with the dividend policy update announced on 11 May, to consider payment of an interim dividend later in the financial year, the board has also concluded that it is now appropriate to authorise an interim dividend of 2p per share, which will be payable on 23 October to shareholders on the register at the close of business on 25 September.”
At 1031 BST, shares in Science Group were up 0.33% at 243.8p.