Breedon Group plc, the Leicestershire-based construction materials group, has temporarily suspended production at its UK sites, with the exception of its Hope cement plant and those of its operations which serve critical supply needs.
The news comes in light of recent Government measures for COVID-19, and to ensure the safety and wellbeing of colleagues, subcontractors, customers and communities.
Breedon said: “During the course of this week we have begun gradually winding down the relevant sites, whilst ensuring that they are in a condition to be quickly and safely brought back online at the appropriate time.
“Our operations in the Republic of Ireland, including our cement plant at Kinnegad, continue to operate pending further guidance from the Irish Government.”
Breedon noted that the UK Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme should ensure that its UK colleagues continue to receive a proportion of their pay during a period of furlough.
The Group’s trading performance in 2020 was until this week broadly in line with expectations. However, following the more stringent measures introduced by the UK Government on 23 March, there has been an immediate and significant reduction in demand which Breedon expects to continue until restrictions on movement are relaxed.
The firm added: “The Group is well invested, which has enabled us to immediately restrict capital expenditure solely to committed and critical projects without compromising the longer-term performance of our operations. In addition, we have halted all discretionary expenditure and continue to apply robust discipline to our management of working capital. We will make full use of any government support, including tax reliefs and other forms of financial aid, as they become available.”
The completion of Breedon’s acquisition of certain of CEMEX’s UK assets remains subject to satisfactory conditions being met, including a TUPE consultation and IT migration. In light of COVID-19, completion may take longer than originally anticipated.
Additionally, in light of the restrictions relating to COVID-19, the Board has agreed to defer the 2020 AGM to a later date.