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Healthcare

UPDATE 1-UK's Melrose cancels 2019 dividend as coronavirus bites

(Adds shares, details on cost cuts, background)

March 30 (Reuters) - Turnaround specialist Melrose Industries on Monday cancelled its 2019 final dividend and said it could not provide outlook as its markets had been hurt by the coronavirus pandemic.

The UK-based company also said it was reducing its expenditures, with senior staff across many of its businesses taking a temporary 20% pay cut, in an effort to ride out the health crisis.

Shares of Melrose, which focuses on turning around industrial companies and then finding new owners for them, were down 17.6% at 87.50 pence by 1551 GMT, trading at the bottom of the benchmark index.

“Given the current uncertainty around future demand as governments carry out unprecedented actions in many countries, the group is unable to provide a meaningful outlook at the current time,” the company said.

Melrose, which also makes components for Boeing, Rolls-Royce, among others, said the markets it operates in have seen a significant deterioration from mid-March onwards due to COVID-19.

In September last year, the company raised its interim dividend by 10% as it had benefited from a “significantly better” performance at its aerospace unit. (Reporting by Shanima A in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni)

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