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“Unprecedented uncertainty”: IVE puts catalogue automation on hold, cancels guidance, dividend

“We have moved quickly to execute a comprehensive range of initiatives in response to the circumstances to mitigate the impacts of revenue declines and the effects of COVID-19,” says Geoff Selig, executive chairman of leading ASX-listed print and marketing business IVE Group, which went into a trading halt last week.

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In a statement to the ASX on Monday, the company said: 

IVE Group Limited today announces that due to the unprecedented uncertainty surrounding the on-going impact and duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company considers it appropriate to withdraw the FY20 EBITDA guidance previously announced to the market on 26 February, 2020. ["...in the range of $75-79m"].

 Additionally, the Board considers it prudent to cancel the interim dividend of 8.6 cents ($12.7m) announced on 26 February 2020, as permitted by the Company’s constitution. This measure is precautionary and reflects a desire to maintain strong liquidity in an increasingly volatile and uncertain time.

 The foreshadowed capital expenditure of $25-30m on catalogue collation automation is on hold, with the company incurring essential capital expenditure only until there is greater certainty.

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      "IVE moved quickly': Matt Aitken, 
                    CEO IVE Group

“IVE moved quickly at the outset of the pandemic to implement appropriate measures across our operations to protect, to the extent possible, the safety and well-being of our customers and staff during this time,” said chief executive officer Matt Aitken.

“We are very well placed to continue to serve our customers with duplicate operations and capacity if required to ensure business continuity across key segments. Currently our supply chain is solid and current inventory levels provide us with additional flexibility.”

IVE said its board considers it “prudent to maintain a continuing high level of liquidity as the full extent of the current uncertainty unfolds.

“At the end of February 2020: cash on hand was $29m; undrawn committed credit lines were $18m; net debt was $174.0m (includes Salmat/Reach Media acquisition(s) on January 1, 2020); and IVE’s net trade debtors exceed trade creditors & accruals by circa $30m.

“IVE remains within its banking covenants with available headroom. Given the unprecedented volatility and uncertainty of the current trading conditions, this position will continue to be closely monitored.”

IVE executive chairman, Geoff Selig added: “We have moved quickly to execute a comprehensive range of initiatives in response to the circumstances to mitigate the impacts of revenue declines and the effects of COVID-19.

 “We continue to work closely with our clients during this period to ensure we are responsive to their changing requirements, and are committed to staying close with our staff to ensure we communicate effectively throughout such an unsettling time for them and their families.”

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The print communications and marketing company also provides point-of-sale and product display systems, signage, posters and banners.