Franchise giant Belvoir says it’s helping its franchisees “reshaping their businesses” to cope with the Coronavirus crisis.
In a trading statement showing strong figures for the calendar year 2019, the company spent much of its time on the challenge of 2020.
Chief executive Dorian Gonsalves tells shareholders in the statement: “Despite the resilience of our core lettings business, we will not be immune to the effects of reduced levels of property sales and mortgage transactions, and the higher risk of bad debts and non-payment of rent …
“We will be working closely with our franchisees and advisers to support them in reshaping their businesses for the next few months and furthermore, how they can access the various government financial support packages. We have also put in place our own financial measures to support our franchisees through the crisis.”
Gonsalves says that as a franchise business, Belvoir bears none of the infrastructure costs of a large corporate network, but has nonetheless stress-tested various ‘downside outcomes’ for 2020.
“The board is confident that the group has a strong balance sheet with adequate resources to be able to weather the storm, and to operate within its bank covenants, for the foreseeable future. However, given the scale of the global crisis and the inevitable uncertainty, we have decided that it would be prudent not to propose a final dividend for 2019, conserving cash as a precaution.
“Despite these concerns, we are positive about our ability to manage the challenge of the current climate and thrive once markets return to normal levels, at which point we would expect to reinstate our progressive dividend policy.”