Investors left worried after Scentre Group (ASX:SCG) announced dividend cut

Summary

  • Scentre Group announced a slash in the final dividend down to a 7 cents a share, a 38% decline, y o y.
  • The Scentre Group stock fell 1.43% to trade at A$2.78 per share following the news.
  • The company was also involved in reports of wage theft and workload of employees and saw a shift in its director of technology.

Scentre Group (ASC:SCG) announced its dividend update, which drew varied reactions from the stock market. The management decided to slash the final dividend to 7 cents a share for the second half of 2020. This is a 38% cut over the same dividend paid last year.

The company also reported that its cash flow earnings for the 12 months ending 31 December, 2020, are expected to be A$2,375 million and net operating cashflow is expected to be approximately A$771 million.

The corresponding stock market performance of Scentre Group was dismal as its share price went down 1.43% in a single day following the announcement. Scentre Group is currently trading lower at A$2.78 per share.

The company pointed out that the pandemic had not been too friendly to the retail sector, and thus had impacted profits.

About Scentre Group

Scentre Group operates the pre-eminent living centre portfolio in Australia and New Zealand. The company holds retail real estate assets under management worth more than A$50 billion. Additionally, shopping centre ownership interests amount to A$34.2 billion.

The company works with retail and luxury brands for its shopping centres and has 42 Westfield living centres, which hold strong franchise value. These centres continued to remain operational when the coronavirus-induced lockdown restrictions were eased.

Scenter Group reported rent generation of A$1,621 million during the 10 months ending 31st of October, 2020. This was up A$746 million since 30th of June, 2020. During the September quarter, customer visits were about 90% of their value the same time last year. The Group finished 1,395 lease deals from January 2020 to November 2020.

However, the group’s comparable like-for-like in-store sales fell short as they went down 1.9% during the three months leading up to September 2020. On the other hand, comparable majors in-store sales were up 1% during the same period.

Unforeseen Developments

The company has experienced various changes over the past few weeks, which have not helped ease the share price drop, observed for the group. Recently, pressure from governance advocates led to Scentre Group agreeing to report on the issue of wage theft and workload of employees.

This was proceeded by Scentre going into an agreement with the Australian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR). This agreement would mandate Scentre to disclose the processes of identifying and mitigating risks in its operational chains.

The group’s director of technology, Richard Webby, also shifted to Opus to serve as the leader of the newly formed business unit, Optus Digital.

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