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Howden Joinery suspends outlook, share buyback, dividend due to coronavirus

(Reuters) - British kitchen appliance company Howden Joinery Group <HWDN.L> suspended its annual outlook and scrapped dividend, share buyback on Thursday, but said it was reopening some of its depots following greater clarity from the government on coronovirus-related guidelines.

The company, which had earlier shut all its depots in Europe, said it was taking steps to preserve cash including postponing opening of new depots and avoiding store refurbishment, other than of those already being renovated.

The company has forecast capital expenditure for the year to be around 40 million pounds ($48.64 million).

Howden, which sells fitted kitchens, appliances and joinery products, said it has the financial capacity to withstand the challenging period. It also intends to make use of all appropriate government support measures as they become available.

Britain's government opened the first part of a 330 billion pound loan guarantee scheme for businesses on Monday, which will help small and medium-sized firms borrow up to 5 million pounds to deal with coronavirus stoppages.

Howden said it was not changing its capital and dividend policies and intended to resume the share buyback programme and dividend payments as soon as it has greater clarity on the impact of the virus on the company's performance.

($1 = 0.8224 pounds)

(Reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)