Insurer Admiral pulls special dividend in face of pandemic

Insurer Admiral has halted plans to hand out a special dividend to shareholders in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

The group, which also runs comparison site Confused.com, said it has suspended its plan to pay out the special dividend of 20.7p per share.

However, it said it will still pay out its proposed normal dividend of 56.3p per share to investors.

It said it will review the special dividend again when it announces its half-year results, but said it still intends to pay out a final dividend at the end of the year "unless there is a significant deterioration in the company's financial position, trading or outlook".

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Insurers have come under pressure from regulators to curtail their dividends in order to ensure they are in strong financial shape.

David Stevens, group chief executive officer, said: "We find ourselves in extraordinary circumstances, and it has been a very difficult decision to suspend the special dividend as we are aware of the importance and impact to our shareholders and staff.

"However, the board and I believe that this is the prudent and right thing to do at this time.

"We thank our customers, staff and shareholders for their continued support, and we remain committed to making decisions that are in their best interests in the long term."

Admiral added that none of the firm's staff have been furloughed in response to the pandemic, with all being paid their full salaries.

It said that it does "not expect to require support from any other initiatives funded by the Government".

Last week, the firm said it would also pay a £25 refund to all its policyholders, as part of £110 million premium rebate for car and van customers.

Shares in the company moved 1.1% higher to 2,333p in early trading on Monday.

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