February 12, 2018 / 4:46 PM / 9 months ago

H&M drops reinvestment plan, proposes unchanged dividend

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Swedish fashion retail group H&M is seen at a building in Dietlikon, Switzerland October 11, 2016. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann /File Photo

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Swedish fashion retailer H&M (HMb.ST) dropped plans to ask shareholders to reinvest their dividend payouts in newly issued shares on Monday, saying the move had proved problematic to carry out.

Under the original plan, the retailer was set to make the request to its annual general meeting in May in order to help finance investments in analytics and technology and rekindle growth at the embattled firm.

“The investigation has shown that the reinvestment plan would be difficult to implement, both from a technical perspective and because of time constraints,” the company said in a statement.

After decades of rapid store expansion, the world’s second-biggest clothes group after Zara owner Inditex (ITX.MC) has struggled in the last couple of years to respond to the rise of ecommerce, with its sales growth and share price both sagging.

With the reinvestment plan off the table, H&M said it would propose paying an unchanged dividend of 9.75 Swedish crowns per share for the 2016/2017 fiscal year, to be paid in two installments, one in May and the other in November.

H&M, which said last month that sales at the start of the year had been slower than expected, is due to hold its first ever capital markets day on Wednesday as it looks to reassure investors unnerved by a 50 percent fall in the stock over the past two years.

Reporting by Niklas Pollard; Editing by Adrian Croft

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