Capital & Counties suspends share buyback amid coronavirus outbreak
Capital & Counties announced on Thursday that it was temporarily suspending its share buyback programme and will defer some rental payments due to the Covid-19 outbreak, as it said it is still is too early to assess the full impact on rental income and property valuations.
The company said the majority of retail and food and beverage units on the Covent Garden estate are shut temporarily and while government support measures will be helpful for many occupiers, disruption to income is expected during the course of this year.
"As a long term investor in London, Capco will work to assist its customers with bespoke solutions on a case by case basis through this unprecedented period," it said.
This will involve moving from quarterly rental payments in advance to alternative arrangements and the deferral of rental payments in certain cases, particularly for smaller and independent operators in to help ease short-term cash flow issues and to reopen successfully once the current restrictions are lifted.
"It is too early at this stage to assess the full impact on rental income and property valuations," it said.
Capco insisted it has a strong balance sheet, with access to "substantial" liquidity and "significant" headroom against debt covenants.
As part of its focus on conserving cash during "this period of highly uncertain market conditions", it has decided temporarily suspend the share buyback programme.
"The company will continue to monitor the Covid-19 situation closely and provide further updates as appropriate."