W H Smith to raise cash as coronavirus bites

W H Smith to raise cash as coronavirus bites

W H Smith has confirmed it plans to strengthen its balance sheet with new lending facilities of £120m accompanied by an equity issue of up to 13.7% of its issued share capital.

The financial measures are being taken because the business has seen "a substantial downturn in economic activity resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic", the retailer confirmed this morning (Monday 6th April). They will be accompanied by "a broad range of mitigating actions to manage the cost base and cashflow", it added.

It's understood that some staff have been furloughed but that no redundancies are planned.

W H Smith closed around 60% of its stores last month, after the Prime Minister ordered non-essential shops to close, with only Post Office stores and those in hospitals remaining open, plus branches in certain key travel locations.

Prior to the closures, it had already warned of a £40m hit to profits because of the impact of the pandemic.