Picture: SOWETAN
Picture: SOWETAN

Construction group Wilson Bayly Holmes-Ovcon (WBHO) has withdrawn R48m in dividend payments to shareholders to preserve cash reserves amid the coronavirus outbreak.

A dividend of 80c per share was due to be paid on April 20, but the company expects the 21-day lockdown that starts at midnight on Thursday to affect its SA operations.

“The board will continue to monitor the impact of Covid-19 on the company’s operations and remains committed to consider the continuation of the dividend history in future financial periods, once circumstances permit,” the group said.

The group had returned to paying dividends for its half-year to end-December, saying new business in the Western and Eastern Cape offset further contraction in Gauteng's building market.

In early afternoon trade on Wednesday, WBHO’s share price was down 1.65% to R79.11, having fallen 42.72% so far in 2020. Over the same period of time, the JSE has lost 24.39%.

gernetzkyk@businesslive.co.za