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Signature Aviation suspends dividend as profit slumps on COVID-19 hit

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(Reuters) - Private jet services firm Signature Aviation on Tuesday posted a 27% drop in annual profit as the COVID-19 pandemic pummelled the airline industry, and said it would suspend its dividend due to an uncertain outlook.

The company, which also provides fuelling and technical support services for airlines, said underlying core profit for the 12 months ended Dec. 31 fell to $400.4 million from $607.6 million a year earlier.

Total annual revenue fell 37.5% to $1.92 billion.

Signature said it remained cautious of a recovery, even as it saw an uptick in flight operations in some markets, and warned it may not receive further U.S. coronavirus aid and rent rebates in 2021.

The company has been at the centre of a bidding war and last month, backed a joint offer from former Gatwick owner GIP, Blackstone Group Inc and Bill Gates' investment vehicle Cascade valuing it at $4.73 billion.

(Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.)