Saga unable to fully assess coronavirus impact

Saga PLC (LON:SAGA) have seen their shares crash on Thursday afternoon, as the firm gave an update on its operations.

The financial services provider said that the current situation with the coronavirus has been affecting results.

However, Saga noted that the impact cannot yet be quantified – but did note that cancellations and lower bookings have been since since the outbreak of the COVID-19.

“Saga is closely monitoring the evolving situation with respect to COVID-19 and our focus is to ensure customers, guests and colleagues are safe and reassured in all circumstances. We have taken significant steps to safeguard everyone and will continue to do so throughout this time.”

Saga also noted that their Cruise business has forward sales for 80% targeted revenues, for their financial year ending January 2020.

However, the Cruise business has faced some troubles following cancellations since the outbreak of the coronavirus. Looking at their tour operations unit, the firm also noted that there has been further cancellations and lower demand.

Saga have remained confident in their ability to make up lost ground, as they said they have lower exposure to the Far East and Northern Europe – shifts in demand and coronavirus issues should be handled.

Saga commented: “The evolution of COVID-19 and the impact this will have on full year earnings for 2020/21 cannot be predicted with any certainty at the current time.  While our Travel business will be impacted, the Group expects the performance and cash generation of the Insurance business to be largely unaffected.  There are a range of actions the Group can take to mitigate against weaker trading in the Travel business, such as the cost efficiency actions already underway and announced in the recent trading statement.

The Group will provide a full update with full year results for the year ended 31 January 2020 on 2 April 2020 and reiterates that underlying profit before tax is expected to be in line with expectations.”

Shares in Saga trade at 22p (-9.33%). 5/3/20 13:23BST.

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