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DMGT to review dividends after making interim payment

By Sean Farrell

Date: Thursday 28 May 2020

DMGT to review dividends after making interim payment

(Sharecast News) - Daily Mail & General Trust said it would review future dividends based on trading and the economy after increasing its interim payout.
The media and events company raised its dividend for the six months to the end of March to 7.5p from 7.3p - an increase of 3%. DMGT said this was based on performance in the first half.

Adjusted pretax profit fell 44% on an underlying basis to £56m as revenue fell 5% to £690m. Statutory pretax profit rose to £80m from £50m.

The owner of the Daily Mail newspaper said it traded well for the first five months of the first half but was then hit by the Covid-19 crisis. In April revenue fell 23% and the company swung to a £3m loss from a £5m profit a year earlier.

DMGT said: "There is currently a high level of uncertainty about the general business environment. The board decided to follow its dividend policy in respect of the interim dividend, reflecting the first half trading performance. Future dividends will reflect the prevailing economic outlook and the trading of our businesses."

The company's shares fell 4% to 720.08p at 11:19 BST.

DMGT's consumer media business was hit hard by the crisis as revenue fell by a third in April and an estimated 30% in May. Its Landmark property and environment information service suffered a 44% revenue drop in April as property transactions dried up.

The company's events business has cancelled or postponed all events until August and a Gastech event scheduled for September. It is increasingly likely that other events due to take place in September will be cancelled and that some planned for the following financial year may also be scrapped.

"The business is expected to benefit from its insurance cover, though the timing of recognition remains uncertain," the company said.

"The severity and duration of the Covid-19 crisis remains unclear but DMGT has a robust balance sheet, access to significant funding and a diversified portfolio," Chief Executive Paul Zwillenberg said. " This gives me, and the board, confidence that we will weather the current storm and withstand a sustained period of global economic uncertainty."

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