The world is facing a pandemic on an unprecedented scale, resulting in a health and economic crisis.
First of all, I would like to stress the essential role that your Group plays in managing infrastructures and facilities essential to everyday life, health, supply and, more broadly, to the maintain of the country's economic activity in the best possible operational conditions. This continuity of activity is based on an organization of work adapted in accordance with health protection measures, the Group's top priority being the health and safety of all its stakeholders, in particular its employees. I want to testify to you the exemplary commitment of ENGIE's management and all its employees in handling this crisis.
Many of you have expressed your concerns on the impact of this crisis on your Company. Your concerns are perfectly legitimate and were discussed in the Board of Directors held on April 1st.
In response to the current health and economic crisis, the Group has taken the following actions:
The study of the impacts of the current health and economic crisis has convinced the Board of Directors of the Group's ability to maintain strong balance sheet and liquidity and overcome this crisis. Nevertheless, uncertainties about the duration and depth of it and how it could continue to affect some of our activities, particularly Customer Solutions, which deploys a large number of teams on the ground in a normal situation led us to decide to cancel the payment of the 2019 dividend, i.e. 1.9 billion euros scheduled in May.
The Board of Directors is fully aware of the major effort that is being asked to our shareholders, in a context already marked by the drop in the stock markets. This decision, taken in a spirit of prudence and responsibility towards the company and all our stakeholders, will give the Group the financial flexibility it needs to return as quickly as possible to sustainable growth as soon as the crisis is over and its ability to pay dividends to its shareholders again.
As you know, ENGIE is committed to the quality of its relationship with you and the General Meeting is a key moment for that. The Group will pay particular attention to the respect of shareholders' rights in the current environment. We will come back to you shortly on the modalities of participation in the General Meeting of May 14th, which will be held in a remote format without physical presence. In this exceptional context, you can count on the availability of the Shareholders' Relations team that is mobilized to accompany you and answer your questions.
Finally, I will come to meet you as soon as possible during the second half of the year in the context of shareholders meetings.
Please find the press release published on April 1, 2020 on the Group's actions in response to the current health and economic crisis.
You can, dear Shareholders, count on the commitment of the Board of Directors and myself to enable the Group to get through this crisis and return to sustainable growth.
Chairman of ENGIE Board of Directors