Flutter to pay final dividend in shares
Paddy Power owner Flutter said its final dividend would be paid out in shares rather than cash as it sought to bolster its finances in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The company had planned to pay 133p a share and would now put the alternative to shareholders at its annual meeting on May 14.
Flutter has seen its share price slump by 25% due to the coronavirus crisis as sports fixtures were cancelled and the government imposed a lockdown forcing the closure of non-essential shops.
The company said last month it could take a hit of up to £110m to earnings if sports fixing restrictions due to the coronavirus remain in place until the end of August. It generated about 78% of its revenues through bets placed on global sporting events.
"Quantifying the precise earnings impact on the group is difficult at this point as we do not have visibility on the duration of restrictions on sporting events. While most major global sports have been suspended/cancelled, there are some exceptions where events are now being scheduled to take place behind closed doors. These include some Australian sports as well as Irish and Australian horse racing."
The company estimated that if these restrictions remain in place until the end of August, earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation would take a £90m to 110m hit. This estimate assumes that its UK and Irish shops remain open and that scheduled UK, Irish and Australian horse racing fixtures continue to run, albeit behind closed doors.