Sheffield’s SIG closes UK, Ireland sites and cuts pay

Shares of Sheffield-based European building materials supplier SIG fell about 9% on Monday as it announced the temporary closure of its UK and Ireland trading sites “in response to the evolving C-19 situation.”

SIG also said it is asking all its UK and Ireland employees “to take lower pay during this period and it is therefore deemed appropriate for all members of the board to take a 50% cut in pay at this time, from 1 April 2020.”

In a stock exchange statement, SIG said: “Since SIG’s announcement on 26 March 2020, large parts of our UK market have seen sales fall away rapidly, in common with the broader construction industry.

“Therefore, we have concluded that it is necessary and appropriate to temporarily close our UK operations – specifically the distribution and roofing businesses.

“In addition, the announcement of further restrictions by the Irish Government on Friday evening has resulted in the suspension of construction activity in the Republic of Ireland.

“As a result, all group trading sites in Ireland have also temporarily closed this morning.

“However, we will remain open to service critical and emergency projects, such as for the NHS, energy and food sectors, as well as for safety reasons and to ensure that there is an orderly closure programme. 

“We will be reviewing Government guidance and measures to support business continuity, as well as market conditions, continuously and will re-open as soon as we can …

“We have committed to support all our colleagues during this period of temporary closure.

“We will ensure that our UK colleagues continue to receive a proportion of their pay during a period of furlough and, in that context, we welcome the introduction of the UK Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which will help to support this.

“Similar Government assistance to retain jobs in Ireland is also welcome.

“However, we are asking all our UK and Ireland employees to take lower pay during this period and it is therefore deemed appropriate for all members of the board to take a 50% cut in pay at this time, from 1 April 2020 …

“The audit of the results for the year ended 31 December 2019 is ongoing and it is anticipated that underlying profit before tax for the year will be in line with the guidance of c.£42 million provided on 9 January, 25 February and 26 March 2020.

“However, following the FCA’s announcement on 26 March 2020 regarding temporary relief for listed companies facing the challenges of corporate reporting during the coronavirus crisis, the board is re-assessing the timing of this announcement which was due for release at the end of April …

“The trading and governmental measures in other markets in which we operate are each different and evolving in different ways.

“Accordingly, our businesses in France, Germany, Benelux and Poland, as well as our building solutions business, continue to be open for trade.

“As stated above the group will keep this position under daily review.”

About the Author

Mark McSherry
Dalriada Media LLC sites are edited by veteran news journalist Mark McSherry, a former staff editor and reporter with Reuters, Bloomberg and major newspapers including the South China Morning Post, London's Sunday Times and The Scotsman. McSherry's journalism has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times, London's Evening Standard and Forbes. McSherry is also a professor of journalism and communication arts in universities and colleges in New York City. Scottish-born McSherry has an MBA from the University of Edinburgh and a Certificate in Global Affairs from New York University.