Walt Disney said Tuesday that it won’t pay a dividend for the first half of its current fiscal year due to “the significant operational and financial disruption caused by Covid-19.”
The company’s fiscal year ends in September, meaning that the first half covers October through March. The end of the most recent quarter was when the pandemic was starting to take hold across the U.S. and other parts of the world, including Europe and the U.K.
The dividend announcement came as Disney (ticker: DIS) reported dismal results, with quarterly earnings down sharply from a year ago. Many of the company’s core businesses have been hit hard by the coronavirus crisis.
The company said that by forgoing the semi-annual dividend—most recently at 88 cents a share—it would save $1.6 billion of cash as it tries to preserve liquidity.
Disney declared a semiannual dividend of 88 cents a share in late 2018, and had kept it at the level until Tuesday’s announcement.
The stock was at $98 and change in after-hours trading, down about 2%. Its recent dividend yield was 1.7%.
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