Global facilities services firm, ISS, has reported organic growth for January 2020 was strong and above its expectations at 7 per cent.
The business stated it has “continued to perform and deliver uninterrupted service to the vast majority of clients” despite the malware attack and it has “regained control” of the vast majority of its IT infrastructure and is relaunching business-critical systems. Adding “there remains no indication of any customer data or sensitive personal employee data having been compromised as a result of the malware attack”.
In summary, the negative impact in 2020 on organic growth and operating profit before other items, as a result of the IT security incident, is estimated to be “immaterial” according to the business.
While organic growth in January was strong, ISS says it is “now facing negative impacts relating to COVID-19, currently most notably within Food Services (15 per cent of Group revenue in 2019) as well as within projects and above base work”. The situation varies greatly by geography, by customer segment and by services. ISS added: “We are in close dialogue with our customers and adapting accordingly within the framework of our contracts. Where demand for our services is impacted, we are adjusting our costs base while utilising any government support available.”
In light of the extraordinary circumstances and as a precautionary measure, the Board of Directors has decided to withdraw the proposal to pay an ordinary dividend of DKK 7.70 (£0.952) per share in connection with the Annual General Meeting on 2 April 2020, stating “in these extraordinary circumstances it is the prudent thing to do as we balance the needs of our employees, customers, suppliers, investors and other stakeholders. Once we gain more clarity around the situation created by COVID-19, we will assess the appropriate amount to be returned to shareholders in 2020, either as an extraordinary dividend or a share buy-back”.
As a result of the current elevated global uncertainties caused by COVID-19, ISS is withdrawing its outlook for 2020 pending further clarification of the market developments and the actual financial impact on the business.
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