March 23, 2020 / 7:42 AM / 14 days ago

Wallenius Wilhelmsen withdraws dividend, mothballs vessels in virus response

OSLO (Reuters) - Shipping firm Wallenius Wilhelmsen (WALWIL.OL), which transports cars and other vehicles from factories to markets, has cut its dividend to zero and will mothball up to 10 vessels as demand plunged amid the coronavirus outbreak, it said on Monday.

The company also plans to scrap up to four older vessels, it added.

Oslo-listed Wallenius Wilhelmsen, which operates around 125 vessels, had originally proposed to pay dividends of up to $60 million, divided into two tranches.

“The world has changed dramatically over the past weeks, and we are all feeling the effect,” Chief Executive Craig Jasienski said in a statement, adding that the impact could last for a long time.

“Our strong focus on synergies and cost efficiency over the past years have put us in a solid liquidity position, but we are taking early precautionary steps now, to preserve cash,” Jasienski said.

(This story corrects headline to show several vessels, not one vessel, are mothballed).

Reporting by Terje Solsvik, editing by Gwladys Fouche

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