Picture: MPACT
Picture: MPACT

Packaging manufacturer Mpact has delayed dividend payments of almost R73m to shareholders by five months due to uncertainty regarding the economic effects of the coronavirus.

A final gross dividend of 42c per share was meant to be paid on April 6, but will now be paid on September 7 so as to shore up the group’s balance sheet, the group said.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that SA will enter a 21-day lockdown on Friday morning, although Mpact noted that its facilities may remain open.

“Mpact is one of the critical links in the SA economy’s supply chain, producing paper and packaging for food, pharmaceuticals and other essential products,” the group said.

Mpact had swung into a loss in its year to end-December, as it battled with the effects of load-shedding and global oversupply of the material that is used to make corrugated boxes.

The group swung into a loss of R880.4m from a profit of R317m previously. The group wrote down some of its assets during the year.

Mpact’s share price fell 14.17% to R7.51 in afternoon trade on Tuesday, having fallen about 70% over the past 12 months.