By Kristy Dorsey

Scottish soft drinks manufacturer AG Barr has become one of the first of what looks set to be dozens of UK listed companies to delay publication of their financial results in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Following unprecedented advice from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) – which has asked all quoted firms to suspend reporting for at least the next fortnight – the maker of Irn-Bru said it will not publish its full-year results today as originally scheduled. It was one of about a dozen companies to respond by mid-morning yesterday to the FCA’s call.

Led by chief executive Roger White, AG Barr was expected to report pre-tax profits of about £37 million for the year to January 25.

The company has not yet encountered any problems with the availability of raw materials, while its stockholding is “as robust as possible”.

“However, in common with most food and drink manufacturers, we are reliant on a number of raw materials and packaging types which it is not possible to store on site for more than a few days,” AG Barr said. “This risk is mitigated as far as possible by good levels of finished goods stock and to date we have maintained strong levels of service into our customer base.”

As for market demand, the company noted that consumers are currently prioritising take-home purchases, but there are “significant challenges” for the hospitality sector, which accounts for about 10% of AG Barr’s sales.

“It is our aim to maintain supply into all customers for as long as there is demand in the market and as long as Government guidance permits,” AG Barr added.

Confirming that it will also postpone its financial results due today, Kingfisher said its B&Q stores in the UK will remain open even though it has temporarily shut its stores in France and Spain.

The group had cash and cash equivalents of £1.1 billion as of March 20, but like many other listed firms looking to conserve financial resources, it will not pay a final dividend. Kingfisher had total net debts of £2.53bn as of January 31.

Edinburgh-based fintech Nucleus Financial has also postponed its year-end results due today. The AIM-listed firm said it has seen limited knock-on effects so far from Covid-19, but with prevailing global uncertainty and falling market prices, it is too early to estimate the eventual impact on the company’s performance.

This was the message from the FCA on Saturday, which said it is too difficult for management teams to make accurate predictions in the current situation. As investors rely on trustworthy information, the regulator has asked all listed firms to observe a moratorium on the publication of preliminary financial statements for at least two weeks.