French Thales withdraws its last dividend and suspends its prospects

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FILE PHOTO: Patrice Caine, president and CEO of the aerospace and defense group Thales, attends a press conference with Gemalto in Paris, France, on December 18, 2017. REUTERS / Philippe Wojazer / File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) – Thales France (TCFP.PA) Tuesday became the last large company to cut its dividend, suspend its profit forecasts and recharge its cash in response to the coronavirus crisis.

The aerospace and defense provider said it withdrew the proposed final payment of its 2019 dividend, saving 430 million euros ($ 465 million). The company has already paid an interim dividend of 0.6 euros, which means that the remaining 2.05 euros will not be paid.

Thales has also suspended its financial forecasts for 2020, which had assumed only a limited impact from the crisis, which are now anchoring airline fleets and taking hold of economies around the world.

“We want to limit the cash outflows that are not strictly necessary … to limit as much as possible the economic and industrial impact on the group,” Patrice Caine, CEO of Thales, told reporters.

Thales said it has also signed a new € 2 billion credit facility that could be drawn down over the next 12 months, with the option of extending it for another 6 months.

($ 1 = 0.9247 euros)

Tim Hepher report; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta

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