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ITV Plc Withdraws FY20 Guidance, Dividends Due To COVID-19; Stock Dips

Shares of ITV Plc (ITV.L) were losing around 13 percent in the early morning trading in London on Monday after the company said it is withdrawing market guidance for 2020 citing the current uncertainty due to the COVID-19 or coronavirus situation.

The Board has also decided not to propose the final dividend of 5.4 pence per ordinary share for the year 2019 at the forthcoming AGM, and to withdraw its previously announced intention to pay an 8 pence full year dividend for 2020.

The company said its forecasts for March and April have deteriorated due to an increasing impact on advertising revenues. This was due to additional measures implemented by Government, which have led to the closure of shops, factories and entertainment facilities.

The company said it is not in a position to give guidance for March or April. The company will update again at its first-quarter trading update in May.

Over a full year, each 1% decline in total advertising revenue reduces revenue and profit by about 17 million pounds, before any mitigation, the company noted.

ITV Plc added that the recent restrictions on working practices are now having a significant impact on ITV Studios' ability to film productions. The company had to pause a significant number of productions in the UK and internationally.

Carolyn McCall, ITV Chief Executive, said, "We are actively taking measures to reduce costs and manage our cash flow so that we are best positioned to continue to deliver our strategy of building a digitally led media and entertainment company over the medium term."

In London, ITV Plc shares were trading at 55 pence, down 13 percent.

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