EssilorLuxottica Halts Dividend As Postpones AGM

EssilorLuxottica is suspending its dividend due to the coronavirus pandemic and said on Monday it was delaying its annual shareholder meeting by a month.

Companies in France and elsewhere have come under pressure from unions and governments to forego shareholder payouts to save up cash to weather the crisis, particularly when they are considering taking some form of state aid.

EssilorLuxottica last week scrapped its financial guidance and warned of a hit to second-quarter profit due to the outbreak, adding it was putting some investments on hold as it halted production at selected sites.

The eyewear company, formed in 2018 as a merger between French lens manufacturer Essilor and Italian spectacles maker Luxottica, also said on Monday that Laurent Vacherot, Chief Executive of Essilor, was retiring. Paul du Saillant, who was deputy CEO, is replacing Vacherot as a director on the company’s board becoming Essilor CEO effective immediately.

Earlier this month, the company had said the board would propose a dividend of 2.23 euros ($2.46) per share.

“The board decided to re-evaluate its previous decision on dividend distribution at a later date. The board may decide whether to confirm, reduce or cancel dividends based on the evolution of the situation,” it said.