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Travis Perkins halts separation of Wickes, suspends dividend

FILE PHOTO: Bricks at the Vauxhall depot of building material supplier Travis Perkins in London

(Reuters) - Travis Perkins <TPK.L>, Britain's biggest building materials group, said on Friday it was putting the separation of its Wickes home improvement unit on hold and suspending its full-year dividend, citing extreme market volatility due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The coronavirus-driven selloff in financial markets globally has spurred the suspension or cancellation of many major IPO and financing deals as banks and investors await more stable conditions to make decisions on risk and pricing.

"Whilst it is impossible to know exactly when it will be appropriate to re-start the demerger process, the intent to demerge remains unchanged", the company said.

Travis Perkins said earlier in the month that the planned demerger was proceeding smoothly and it expected Wickes to be a standalone listed business in the second quarter of 2020.

The company also said its debt maturities were well spread with no requirement for immediate refinancing, but added that it would be pulling back its outlook in the near-term.

Travis said total sales rose 2.4% so far this year and that it had not yet seen a significant sales impact due to the virus.

It, however, expects the trading environment to change in the coming weeks.

(Reporting by Samantha Machado in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)