City darling says outbreak will hit year-end figures

Morgan Sindall has said it is cancelling its final dividend and warned that profit for the year will be hit by the coronavirus outbreak.

The firm, which last month announced another set of improved annual figures, said it was now running into problems in several areas because of the outbreak.

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It added: “Certain construction sites have already closed under instruction from the relevant clients and this is expected to increase across a number of divisions and activities. In addition, activity on other sites and projects is slowing and progress with some development schemes in the regeneration activities becoming more uncertain.

“As a consequence, it is anticipated that the extent of the overall disruption will inevitably have a material impact on group profitability for the year.”

Schemes the firm is working on include a £98m secondary school and leisure centre (pictured) in Hackney, east London, for the local council and the redevelopment of Old Street roundabout for Transport for London.

It said that it was pulling a 38p a share dividend it announced last month.

It added that average daily net cash from 1 January to 20 March was £132m. Net cash as at 20 March was £102m.

Last year, Morgan Sindall said revenue in the year to December 2019 was up 3% to £3.1bn with the group seeing its overall operating margin climb from 2.9% to 3%. Pre-tax profit was up 10% to £88.6m.