March 20, 2020 / 6:44 PM / 9 days ago

Italy's Brembo and Amplifon propose suspending dividend

March 20 (Reuters) - Italy’s premium brakes producer Brembo and hearing aid maker Amplifon have scrapped their dividend proposals to retain earnings and make up for potential losses due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Brembo had previously proposed a dividend of 0.22 euro ($0.2351) per share and Amplifon had proposed a dividend of 0.16 euro per share.

Amplifon on Friday proposed allocating all 2019 as retained earnings, while Brembo said a dividend over 2019 earnings may be proposed once the situation relating to the virus has been overcome.

“The Board acknowledged the significant change in the global economic scenario ... due to the spread of the COVID-19 viral pandemic,” Brembo said in a statement.

Brembo said that while it was difficult to make forecasts, it expected the virus to have a “significant” impact on the company’s operating and financial performance in the first quarters of 2020.

Brembo said on Thursday it would extend until March 29 the temporary closure of its four plants, located in Bergamo and Brescia in the northern Lombardy region, the epicentre of the pandemic in Italy.

Amplifon said it expected a short-term negative impact on demand in the hearing care retail market, also due to the containment measures adopted by various governments to limit contagion, but was implementing measures to limit the impact.

On Thursday, Italy overtook China as the country that has registered most deaths from the coronavirus. The number of cases in Italy rose to 47,021 on Friday, the Civil Protection Agency said.

$1 = 0.9358 euros Reporting by Silvia Recchimuzzi in Gdansk, Editing by Timothy Heritage

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