Gecina lowers dividend, suspends 2020 guidance

French listed property giant Gecina said this week that it plans to lower its 2019 dividend while suspending its 2020 guidance, as it continues to assess the impact of coronavirus on the business.

Gecina is now proposing to pay shareholders €5.30 a share, versus €5.60 previously, to align itself with the French Government’s recommendations concerning the moderation of dividends paid. The amount covers the company’s legal obligations under the SIIC tax system.

As a €2.80 interim dividend was paid out previously on March 6, 2020, the balance of €2.50 per share will be paid in cash on July 3, 2020, subject to this provision being approved by the General Meeting.

Gecina is also suspending its guidance for the current financial year as it said that it is ‘too early to accurately estimate the operational impacts linked to this crisis’.

‘Gecina has a robust balance sheet. However, faced with the current uncertainty, which does not make it possible at this stage to accurately determine the consequences of this crisis, the Group is suspending its guidance for 2020,’ the company said in a statement.

Gecina is not at this stage making use of the economic support measures put in place by the French State to help the sectors that have been worst affected by the crisis. While all its administrative staff is now working remotely, a number of employees – namely the student residence managers – have been mobilized to support Gecina’s customers in the residences faced with the lockdown. As such, Gecina said that it is awarding them a €1,000 net bonus with their pay for April, to pay tribute to their continued dedication.

Gecina’s General Meeting is still going ahead and will be held as a closed session on April 23, 2020, without its shareholders attending in person.