Whitbread Suspends Dividend And Shuts Hotels Due To COVID-19
Premier Inn operator Whitbread has suspended its shareholders' dividend and shut all of its hotels and restaurants due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The company said that the closure may amount to a "technical event of default" under its banking arrangements and some other financial obligations.
However, it added that it has material headroom in its funding facilities and will pay its rents this quarter.
"At this point, it is not possible to predict the full extent of the market down-turn and the impact on the business's revenues," the hotel operator said.
A significant number of its site teams have been placed on a temporary furlough, with all employees on full pay, Whitbread said, adding that the recently announced government package is expected to pay up to 80% of their salaries.
It said that support measures for the hospitality industry were expected to save the business approximately £120 million in fiscal year 2021, which will have a positive impact on cash-flow in the year.
Hotels For Frontline Workers
The 278-year firm also said that it is in talks with the UK government about the use of some hotels near hospitals to support frontline key workers.