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RNS Number : 1293I
FIH Group PLC
31 March 2020
31 March 2020
FIH group plc
("FIH" or "the Group")
Full Year Trading and COVID-19 Update
FIH group plc ("FIH"), the AIM quoted international specialist services group with businesses in the Falkland Islands and UK, provides an update on the Group's expected trading performance for the year ended 31 March 2020 and an initial update of the effects of COVID-19 on its businesses.
Full Year Trading
Despite challenging trading conditions and in particular the negative impact of COVID-19 on activity in the last 4-6 weeks of the financial year, subject to audit the Group expects its results for the year finishing today to be in line with market expectations. FIH's liquidity position at year end is strong and the Group is in a good position to meet the financial challenges presented by the outbreak of the virus.
Impact of Covid -19
Across the Group our first priority has been to ensure the health and well-being of our staff and customers and all necessary steps have been taken to follow government guidelines on social distancing and personal protection and to facilitate home working and self- isolation wherever possible.
With respect to trading, in the near term, activity at both Momart and the Portsmouth Harbour Ferry Company ("PHFC") has reduced significantly and both companies will be taking advantage of the UK government's Job Protection Scheme as we weather the storm.
At Momart, the closing of galleries and museums has meant commercial activity is now mostly just storage. Passenger levels at the Portsmouth to Gosport Ferry are some 90% down and a reduced service is held in place while we request Government support for this essential local service.
In the Falklands, precautionary measures to safeguard public health have already been effected with containment measures similar to those in the UK now in place. Although some elements of FIC's business will be adversely affected others including the supply of food, logistics services, property construction, rental and insurance should prove more resilient.
Given the extent of these uncertainties the full impact on the Group's trading in the year ending 31 March 2021 cannot be assessed with any certainty although profits and cash flow will be materially adversely affected. The Company is therefore suspending forward guidance until there is greater understanding of the effect COVID-19 has had.
Operational Response and Financial Strength
The Group's liquidity position is strong with cash balances as at 31 March 2020 in excess of GBP8million (GBP6.2million 31 March 2019). Medium term bank borrowings at 31 March 2020 were GBP2.3million and in addition the Group has a long- term loan with a 20 year repayment profile of GBP13.4million secured on its freehold London art storage warehouse. This leaves the Group in a good position to meet its financial and commercial commitments until trading can recover to normal levels.
In order to extend and protect the Company's cash reserves, the Board and management are implementing a range cost saving measures. All bonus plans for senior management have been suspended and a 30% reduction in Board salaries and non-executive fees is being introduced for three months to the end of June, for review at that point. All group bonus plans for 20/21 have been cancelled.
In addition, the Board will not be recommending a final dividend payment to shareholders when it announces the full year results for the period ended 31 March 2020. We will resume dividend distributions when circumstances allow.
We will continue to monitor the situation closely and are taking all necessary steps to preserve the financial health of the Group and the integrity of its skilled and committed workforce. We remain confident that the long- term prospects of the Group remain bright and that profitability and growth will resume quickly when the crisis lifts.
FIH group plc
John Foster, Chief Executive Tel: 01279 461 630
WH Ireland Ltd. - NOMAD and Broker
Adrian Hadden / Darshan Patel / Lydia Tel: 020 7220 1666
Novella - Communications Advisor Tel: 020 3151 7008
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
March 31, 2020 02:00 ET (06:00 GMT)