COVID-19: Breedon shutting down UK operations
Company announces temporary shutdown of production at most of its UK sites due to COVID-19
IN light of recent government measures relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, and to ensure the safety and well-being of their staff, subcontractors, customers and communities, Breedon Group are temporarily suspending production at all UK sites, with the exception of Hope cement plant and those operations which serve critical supply needs.
In an announcement issued today, Breedon said that during the course of this week they had started to gradually wind down the relevant sites, whilst ensuring that they are in a condition to be quickly and safely brought back online at the appropriate time.
They added that although the Group’s trading performance in 2020 was until this week broadly in line with expectations, following the more stringent measures introduced by the UK Government on 23 March, there had been an immediate and significant reduction in demand for the company’s products, which is expected to continue until restrictions on movement are relaxed.
Breedon’s operations in the Republic of Ireland, including their cement plant at Kinnegad, will continue to operate pending further guidance from the Irish Government.
Welcoming the introduction of the UK Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which should ensure that UK staff continue to receive a proportion of their pay during a period of furlough, Breedon said they will also make full use of any government support, including tax reliefs and other forms of financial aid, as they become available.
According to today’s announcement, completion of the acquisition of certain of CEMEX’s UK assets may take longer than originally anticipated, in light of restrictions relating to COVID-19. The board has also agreed to defer the 2020 AGM to a later date, and says that given the current economic uncertainty and the as yet unquantifiable longer-term impact of COVID-19 on the trading environment, it is unable to provide accurate market guidance for the current year.
However, looking further ahead, Breedon stressed that their fundamentally robust and diversified business with traditionally strong cashflow characteristics was well positioned to prosper in the long term, whilst the pending addition of a high-quality portfolio of assets from CEMEX in the UK would further strengthen their position.