CEMAC zone: recession could reach 6% according to BEAC

All the indicators are certainly not red. But most of the economic indicators in the six countries of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) are already found the Monetary Policy Committee (CPM) of the Bank of Central African States (BEAC) at the end of the second annual session on June 24, 2020 in Yaoundé.

Analyzing the situation in Central Africa, it emerges that in the short and medium terms, the CEMAC zone is affected by the health crisis and the fall in the prices of the main export products. "

"In the first half of 2020, the revival of productive activities was slowed down in the sub-region by the disruption of supply circuits for imported products as well as by the restrictive measures adopted by the various governments to contain the effects of the pandemic. Although it is premature for the moment to fully grasp the impact of COVID-19 on national economies, it is already anticipated during this first semester a drop in production as well as a det…

Coronavirus: Dividend payments raise questions during this crisis | France

  • In the midst of an economic crisis linked to the coronavirus, some companies have not renounced dividends.
  • The government has not issued a formal ban on those who resort to short-time working.
  • Activities and opposition members are demanding an order banning the payment of dividends.
Coronavirus: Dividend payments raise questions during this crisis | France

While the executive - and companies - demand many efforts from employees during the coronavirus crisis (setting holidays, RTT, reduction of wages), some unions like the CFDT also ask the shareholders to do their part, by renouncing to receive the dividends calculated on the 2019 results.

The sums would be kept by the companies, which would allow them to have more financial reserves. In response to this request for solidarity, the government has established a framework that does not satisfy everyone. 20 Minutes takes stock.

What are the rules set by the government?

The executive acts on two fronts. First, companies that would resort to short-time working - more than 337,000 are concerned today in France - were invited by Bruno Le Maire "to the greatest moderation" in the payment of dividends. The Minister of Economy recalled on Monday that short-time workers "are paid by the state", which fully compensates for the cost borne by the company. "Be exemplary," he said to the shareholders concerned. But nothing prevents them, in law, from ignoring the ministerial request.

The government, on the other hand, has been more direct for companies which would have benefited from a deferral of charges, for example by not paying social security contributions in March, or who would have applied for a loan guaranteed by the state. In the event that they pay dividends, they "will be obliged to repay this cash advance on social and tax charges with an interest penalty" warned Bruno Le Maire. "It is not illogical that a company which requests the deferral of charges, and which is therefore faced with a cash flow problem, does not pay dividends" agreed the boss of Medef, Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux, interviewed by Wansquare . Finally, the state, itself a shareholder in several large companies (EDF, Aéroports de Paris, Engie, Airbus, etc.), has announced that it will vote against the payment of dividends in these companies this year.

In support of the statement, the European Central Bank (ECB) last week asked banks - which do not necessarily benefit from state aid - to also forgo paying dividends. The renunciation could free up as much as 30 billion euros in capital, said Andra Enria, the European "policeman" of banks. This retained capital instead of being distributed could be used "to support households, small businesses and borrowing firms", and also "absorb losses on existing exposures to these borrowers," said the ECB in its statement.

How have companies reacted?

They are not at all on the same line. First there are those who will not pay any dividend for the year 2019. Regarding the companies in which the State is a shareholder, Airbus and Safran have already made this choice. Others, like JCDecaux, Tarkett, Autogrill and Auchan Holdings, will follow suit. As for the banks, Natixis and Société Générale are following suit, even if the SoGé does not rule out paying an "exceptional dividend" at the end of the year.

Second, some companies have chosen to reduce shareholder compensation. The transport operator Transdev, publicly controlled via the Caisse des Dépôts, will thus pay a total dividend of 23 million euros, half of its 2019 profit, but only after the coronavirus crisis has ended. The equipment manufacturer Plastic Omnium will reduce its dividend by 34% compared to the previous year, and the giant of pens, razors and lighters Bic will also cut it by a third, to 1 euro per share.

Finally, some companies have publicly stated that they are giving up on government plans ... which will allow them to pay dividends as they see fit. This is the case for Hermès, L’Oréal, and even Total. According to "Les Jours", the oil group will distribute 1.8 billion euros to its shareholders. As for Publicis, the dividend paid this year will even be up (+ 8.5%) compared to last year.

Does the executive position satisfy everyone?

No, of course. PCF MP Elsa Faucillon on Tuesday called for an order to block the payment of dividends or share buybacks (a technique for paying shareholders without paying dividends) in large groups. A position also shared by Oxfam: "In a very clear and immediate manner, the government must freeze all dividend payments in 2020, a fortiori for companies that benefit from public funds".

But not surprisingly, the government does not intend to go further than the position expressed by Bruno Le Maire, which leaves companies some leeway.