Beer behemoth AB InBev on Tuesday halved its proposed dividend in a move that will save the Stella Artois maker around €1 billion (£870 million) as it looks to ride out the Covid-19 pandemic.
The brewer, which did a mega-takeover of rival SABMiller in 2016 and had debts of around $95.5 billion as at the end of 2019, is proposing to pay a final 2019 dividend of 50 cents per share.
AB InBev said the reduced payout comes given the “uncertainty, volatility and continued impact” of coronavirus.
Scores of pubs where the firm’s drinks are sold, including all those in the UK, have closed because of Government-enforced lockdowns.
Elsewhere today All Bar One owner Mitchells & Butlers said that it has secured a temporary waiver to avoid a potential breach of its financing terms due to pub closures.
Discussions with lenders are under way, but M&B said it has “material cash resources which we believe should be sufficient to fund obligations well into the second half of the year”.
At Revolution Bars, Natwest has agreed to increase lending to £30 million giving the company more headroom. It currently has a £21 million loan from the bank.
Revolution Bars added that its chief executive Rob Pitcher will take a 50% pay cut. His basic salary is £350,000 a year.