Swiss group Calida to pay no dividend for 2019, names new president

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Nicola Mira
Mar 26, 2020
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Swiss apparel group Calida, owner of lingerie labels Aubade and Calida and of sportswear and equipment brands Lafuma, Millet and Oxbow (a surfing brand it is trying to sell off), is not going to pay a dividend for the 2019 financial year, due to the business uncertainty triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Calida announced the decision in a press release issued on Thursday. At the same time, the group heralded a change in its board of directors, with the appointment of Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard as president.

Mountain apparel brand Lafuma is one of the top assets in the Calida group’s portfolio - Lafuma

Calida, like many other listed companies, has put its forecasts for the current financial year on hold, “as the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic are not foreseeable for the time being,” and has taken measures to safeguard its liquidity.

“Given the situation, the board of directors is recommending the shareholder’s assembly not to distribute a dividend for the 2019 financial year,” stated Calida.

The group, based in Sursee, in the Lucerne canton, and well-known in Switzerland for its nightwear and lingerie lines, initially planned to distribute a dividend of CHF0.80 (€0.75) per share, the same as the year before.

New board president named

Calida also announced that Marco Gadola is stepping down as president of the board of directors, to be replaced by the current vice-president, Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard. Gadola remains however a member of the group’s supervisory board, as vice-president.

The leadership change is set to be approved by the next ordinary AGM of Calida Holding AG, whose date has been brought forward to April 17. The meeting was originally planned for April 29, and will take place without the physical presence of the shareholders, who will participate remotely.

Calida not the first to forego dividend distribution

The economic shocks caused by the Covid-19 pandemic have led several corporations to revise their profit redistribution policies to shareholders, in order to preserve liquidity.

For example, Spanish apparel giant Inditex, the owner of Zara, has put on hold any decision regarding the dividend for the last financial year. The issue is set to be discussed by the Inditex board before the next AGM, which is scheduled for July.

Inditex’s main competitor, Swedish group H&M, said a few days ago that it was cancelling the planned dividend distribution it had announced to its shareholders. For the 2020 financial year, H&M had originally forecast payments worth SEK16 billion, equivalent to €1.4 billion.

“After we, the board of directors, put forward our dividend distribution proposal, the market situation has drastically changed,” said H&M. “In the light of the current situation, and of the uncertainty about future developments, we have decided today to withdraw the previous proposal, which amounted to SEK9.75 per share,” said Stefan Persson, president of H&M.

The editorial team with AFP

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