More big names announce construction site closures

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construction sites, coronavirus

Following the UK lockdown announcement, more companies have closed their construction sites in the hope to prevent the spread of COVID-19

Although the UK is in lockdown, the government is yet to enforce the full closure of all construction sites. Many companies have had to take matters into their own hands to protect their employees from the coronavirus.

Sir Robert McAlpine, Grafton Group, Multiplex and Taylor Wimpey are among the latest companies to close their sites.

Sir Robert McAlpine

In a statement, Sir Robert McAlpine, said: “Our overriding aim is always to keep all our sites open and fully operational.  This is to ensure we meet our clients’ needs and are able to provide employment for the thousands of people who keep our business thriving.

“As of today, Wednesday 25 March 2020, most of our sites will be closed to all but essential safety and security employees. The only sites that remain operational are those where it is absolutely safe to do so and where critical work, such as building hospitals continues, or where we are putting safe shutdown plans into operation.”

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The Grafton Group

The Grafton Group has also closed all of its branches and manufacturing sites for a period of three weeks.

In a statement, the company said: “This is subject to clarification from the government on the supply of materials through a small number of branches to support essential repair and maintenance activity.

“It is worth noting that the group’s balance sheet is robust, and liquidity is strong. As of March 23, the group has £303m of cash on hand and an undrawn credit facility of £275m with no refinancing until 2023. As expected, the final dividend in 2019 has been suspended preserving £30m.

“Although the uncertainty is extreme we believe the proven management team – which is the longest-serving in the sector – the ability for Grafton to manage cashflows and the strength of the balance sheet leaves it well placed to navigate these choppy waters. Indeed, we note that the group’s Irish and Dutch businesses represent over 40% of group profits.

“Ultimately we believe the UK economy will require a functioning merchanting network to maintain critical facilities and homes. We believe the stock offers very attractive long-term value.”

Taylor Wimpey

Taylor Wimpey has revealed it will shut all of its show homes, sales centres and construction sites in response to COVID-19.

It stated: “The group highlights that cash preservation is front of mind and so has also decided to fully drawdown its previously unutilised RCF of £550m (matures in 2025), leaving the group in a healthy gross cash position of £807m and net cash of £165m.

“Overall we see the decision to cancel its final and special dividends, as well as drawdown its RCF, as prudent.”

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