UK's SIG posts loss on virus hit, lifts 2020 revenue view

Adds detail on outlook, CEO quote, background

Sept 24 (Reuters) - SIG Plc SHI.L reported a first-half loss of 53.7 million pounds ($68.24 million) on Thursday due to the coronavirus hit to construction activity, but the building materials supplier said its 2020 revenue would fall lesser than previously feared.

The Sheffield, UK-based company, which in May expected 2020 revenues to be about 500 million pounds lower than 2019, said the underlying pretax loss for the six months to June 30 compares with a profit of 17.4 million pounds in the year-ago period.

In May, SIG Chief Executive Officer Steve Francis, who took the helm earlier this year, had laid out a new strategy for the business, focusing on sales and reviving margins as the British firm looks to put past troubles with financial forecasts behind it.

"In the short term, significant economic uncertainty remains in all of our markets, although government stimulus for the construction sector, notably in the UK, is welcome," Francis said in a statement on Thursday.

The London-listed company, which supplies roofing and insulation materials to the residential, non-residential as well as renovation, maintenance, improvement markets, said it will incur losses in the second half of the year as well, but at a lower rate than the first half.

Revenue for the reported period fell about 24% to 817.7 million pounds.

Under Francis' leadership, the company also raised 165 million pounds in new equity in July, including an investment by Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) in a deal that would see the U.S. buyout firm hold a 25% stake in the company.

($1 = 0.7869 pounds)

(Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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