Reach PLC, one of the UK’s major national and regional newspaper players, has given a trading update in light of the global Coronavirus outbreak.
In a statement to the stock market the company said; “With the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, our priorities have been to safeguard the health and wellbeing of our colleagues, maintain our business operations and to continue to provide high quality and trusted editorial content, which is needed more now than ever.
“Our Senior Executive and operational management teams have been quick to successfully move to a new framework of remote working. Both teams are at full strength with key succession planning in place. We have reviewed our continuity plans for production, printing and distribution, where remote working is often not feasible. Our valued people are a key driver of our future success and our priority is looking after our colleagues, to ensure we are well placed to deliver on our strategy when conditions start to normalise.
“Given the rapidly changing situation, we have actively shaped business operations to best adapt to the current trading environment. This has included broadening our interactions with customers (via apps and newsletters), alongside offering more convenient options for our printed products, with an increase in home delivery.”
On its current trading, the company added; “Whilst the first 12 weeks of the new financial year have traded overall in line with our expectations, the situation remains significantly uncertain and it is too early to assess the expected impact that the COVID-19 pandemic will have on FY 2020 and beyond.
“Currently, the principal trading areas expected to be impacted are advertising, print circulation and events. Advertising revenue deferrals may be expected given its discretionary nature, print circulation will be impacted by footfall reductions and closures of outlets and events delays or cancellation may be necessary. Mitigation plans are being developed to try to partially offset some of these.
“We expect to provide further financial guidance at the time of our AGM Trading Update, which is scheduled for 7 May 2020.”
The company confirmed that there is no current plans to change it’s full year dividend which was announced in 2019, although it is subject to a vote by shareholders at its forthcoming AGM.
That AGM is currently scheduled for 7th May 2020, although the company added that it is being kept under review, and that a further announcement about it will be made in due course.