UPDATE 1-SThree scraps final dividend, seeking other support

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April 6 (Reuters) - British recruiting firm SThree joined peers Hays and Robert Walters in scrapping its final dividend payout for 2019 on Monday, and said it was actively exploring options to support operations across regions to battle the impact of the coronavirus on the industry.

The company, which hires employees for finance, energy, banking, pharmaceutical, engineering and tech sectors, added it is in advanced stage of seeking access to the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility.

SThree, which has asked 98% of its employees to work remotely due to the pandemic, said salaries of executive directors and senior executive team, and fees of non-executive directors, have been temporarily slashed by 20%, with the executive directors also foregoing bonuses.

The company’s peers Hays and Robert Walters had last week axed dividend plans and implemented cost reductions ranging from stopping hiring to cutting management pay to cushion the blow of the virus that has already claimed over 68,400 lives globally.

“Clearly, our business is not immune to the economic impact of the current situation,” the company said on Monday, adding it was no longer possible to provide guidance on future earnings.

Reporting by Indranil Sarkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi