Fletcher Building shareholders won't get their interim dividend next month, the company's big share buyback scheme has been scrapped and it has withdrawn its full-year guidance.

Chief executive Ross Taylor issued a statement this morning announcing the three big changes.

"The board has decided to cancel the FY20 interim dividend which was due to have been paid on 9 April and to suspend the on-market share buyback programme," he said.

The company had continued to trade as the pandemic spread but he said government moves here and in Australia to combat it changed all that.


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Fletcher was due to pay shareholders 11cps on April 9.

Late last year, it began a $300m share buyback programme and by the end of the year, had bought 27.9m shares or 3.3 per cent of those on issue, for $141m. It has since bought back a further $6m.

Its shares have plummeted 37 per cent in the past month, from $5.40 on the NZX on February 24 to $3.40 yesterday.

Taylor emphasised care for staff today.

"Health and safety is our first priority and over the past two months we have put in place measures to protect the well-being of our people. We have also taken a wide range of actions to ensure the continuity of our operations so that we can provide the best possible service to our customers.

"To this point, we have had a strong response from both our local and international suppliers, and there has been no material disruption to our manufacturing, distribution, residential and construction operations.

"Since the FY20 half year results announcement in mid-February, our businesses have continued to trade largely in line with expectations.


"However, it is now clear that Covid-19 and the significant escalation of government protection measures in New Zealand and Australia will have a material impact on our operations and our FY20 financial results. For this reason, the board has decided to withdraw Fletcher Building's FY20 EBIT guidance."

The board was focused on preserving liquidity "through what is likely to be a challenging trading period for an unknown duration. In addition to a range of other cash protection measures to be taken across all the group's businesses, the company will also pause the divestment process for the Rocla business that was announced at the group's half-year results in February".