WPP AUNZ preserves cash, withdraws dividends in the 'uncertainty' of the pandemic

Chris Pash
By Chris Pash | 24 March 2020

WPP AUNZ, the local arm of the world's biggest advertising company, has withdrawn previously announced dividends as preacautionary move against the impact of the coronavirus. 

The company says it is in a "sound" financial position. Net debt sits at $121.4 million and the current market capitalisation is $298.3 million. 

Cancelling the final and special dividends saves $37.5 million and puts the company in a stronger cash position. 

The company's shares fell more than 22% or eight cents to close at $0.27 on the ASX.

The company cited "unprecedented uncertainty" as to the impact and duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The board has decided to cancel the ordinary dividend payment of 2.9 cents per share and special dividend payment of 1.5 cents per share that were previously announced to the market on February 24,"  the company says.

"The board has decided to take this action now as a very prudent and cautious approach to capital management to ensure cash is preserved until there is greater clarity as to the full impact of the rapidly unfolding COVID-19 crisis."

In February, WPP AUNZ full year posted a statutory net loss of $227.57million

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