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Flutter to give shares instead of paying out dividend

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Flutter CEO Peter Jackson

Flutter CEO Peter Jackson

Flutter CEO Peter Jackson

Paddy Power owner Flutter Entertainment has abandoned plans to pay a final cash dividend in respect of last year.

It had been due to pay out approximately €117m, but like many other companies, it is focusing more on conserving cash.

Instead it is proposing to pay the dividend in Flutter shares, as it faces into an earnings hit from the coronavirus, which has caused the cancellation of sporting events worldwide.

It has also suspected its dividend for this year.

In its prospectus and circular relating to the takeover of The Stars Group (TSG), the company said the combined business will create a more varied product portfolio and provide increased geographic diversification for the group.

Peter Jackson, CEO of Flutter, said in the current "challenging times" he was "more convinced than ever of the strategic fit of these two complementary businesses".

As the economic fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic continues, the combined companies' leverage will be higher than previously expected.

Earlier this month, Flutter entered into new debt arrangements. This arrangement comprises of a term loan and revolving credit facility totalling £1.3bn (€1.45bn) and is contingent on Flutter and TSG combining.

Facilities are available for the refinancing of existing Flutter and TSG debt, as well as providing the group with on-going financial flexibility, the company said.

Shareholders are due to vote on the deal to combine Flutter and TSG in April.

Flutter has said it is assuming that Covid-19 restrictions will remain in place until the end of August, leading to a hit to its earnings of between £90m and £110m (€99m and €121m).

Shares in the company were down 11pc in afternoon trading yesterday.

Irish Independent