Fuller’s cancels dividend and cuts pay of bosses

PA

The company behind Fuller’s pubs has cancelled shareholder payouts and cut the board’s pay in a bid to weather the coronavirus crisis.

Fuller, Smith & Turner said it would not pay out a final dividend to shareholders, after handing them £6.8 million last year.

Pubs across the country have been forced to close their doors as the Government banned all but the most essential stores from remaining open.

“In light of the unprecedented current situation – especially the uncertainty as to how long the emergency regulations will last – and to ensure the company is in the best possible financial position with maximum flexibility, the board has taken the decision not to propose a final dividend on the company’s ordinary shares for the year ended March 28 2020,” Fuller’s said in a statement to shareholders on Friday.

More than 95% of its staff have been put on furlough with 80% of their salary, backed by a government guarantee.

Fuller’s said that it was topping up salaries of furloughed staff if they earn above the Government cap of £2,500 a month.

Meanwhile, the board, including chief executive Simon Emeny, has taken a 25% pay cut.

“We have implemented a wide range of measures that will impact all our stakeholders, but will protect the business and ensure that we emerge in a strong position to build for the future. We are supporting our tenants by cancelling commercial rent payments,” Mr Emeny said.

He added: “I would like to thank all my colleagues for their support and the way they have positively engaged in these decisions. I have been so proud of the way they have reacted with understanding and compassion.

“These are unprecedented times – but we look forward to the day we reopen our doors, get our teams back together and are ready to welcome our customers back into our pubs and hotels and deliver the outstanding hospitality that Fuller’s is famous for.”