DSG International yesterday scrapped dividend payments to conserve cash in the face of the deepening consumer downturn, after the electricals retailer recorded a first-half loss.

The group, which owns the Currys and PC World chains in the UK and has operations throughout Europe, made an underlying pre-tax loss of £29.8m compared with a profit in the same period last year of £52.4m in the 24 weeks to October 18. Including restructuring costs, the pre-tax loss was £61m, compared with a profit of £51.4m.

Analysts were more concerned with a swing from net cash a year ago of £101m to net debt at the end of the half year of £150m. However, the group said it had met its covenants at the end of its first half and expected to meet the next test at the end of the financial year. It had £300m of undrawn bank facilities.

Financial Times