France's Thales withdraws final dividend, suspends outlook

PARIS, April 7 (Reuters) - France’s Thales on Tuesday became the latest major company to slash its dividend, suspend profit guidance and top up liquidity in response to the coronavirus crisis.

The aerospace and defence supplier said it had withdrawn the proposed final instalment of its 2019 dividend, saving 430 million euros ($465 million). The company has already paid an interim dividend of 0.6 euros, meaning the remaining 2.05 euros will not be paid.

Thales also suspended its 2020 financial guidance, which had assumed only a limited impact from the crisis, which is now grounding airline fleets and seizing up economies worldwide.

“We want to limit cash outflows that are not strictly contain the economic and industrial impact on the group as much as possible,” Thales Chief Executive Patrice Caine told reporters.

Thales said it had also signed a new 2-billion-euro credit facility that can be used over the next 12 months, with the option to extend it by another 6 months.

$1 = 0.9247 euros Reporting by Tim Hepher; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta