LONDON (Reuters) - British engineering company Babcock (BAB.L) deferred a decision on its final dividend and did not give financial guidance for the year ahead due to COVID-19 uncertainty.
Babcock, whose biggest customer is Britain’s Ministry of Defence, also took exceptional items of 503 million pounds including a writedown of the value of its oil and gas aviation business which transports workers to rigs.
For the 12 months to March 31, it posted an underlying operating profit of 524 million pounds, 11% lower than last year, but sunk to a statutory loss of 165 million pounds when factoring in the charges.
Babcock said that it was deferring the decision on its final dividend until the COVID-19 situation becomes clearer and was not providing financial guidance for its new financial year for the same reason.
“We enter the new financial year facing uncertain times but the long term characteristics of our business remain strong,” Chief Executive Archie Bethel said.
It said it had a combined order book and pipeline of around 35 billion pounds, and had been boosted by contract wins for a Type 31 frigate programme and submarine programmes.
Shares in the company fell in early trading but were down 2% by 1045 GMT. They are down 33% in the last six months.
Bethel has announced he will step down but will remain in place until a successor is found.
Reporting by Sarah Young and Kate Holton; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise