New Zealand markets close in 3 hours 51 minutes

AMP outlook shelved, Life sale on track

Alex Druce
AMP says it is on track to complete the sale of its wealth protection unit in June

AMP has withdrawn its earnings forecast amid coronavirus uncertainty but says it is on track to complete the sale of its wealth protection business as planned.

The financial group on Thursday joined a growing list of companies to cut guidance as the COVID-19 pandemic clouds the economic horizon.

JB Hi-Fi, Fletcher Building, Cochlear, NIB, Seven West, Bingo, TabCorp, Stockland, and Link Group are among the others to mothball forecasts this week.

AMP has, however, said the sale of its AMP Life wealth unit to Resolution Life remains set to close by June.

AMP in August announced it was selling the business to the UK group at a reduced $3 billion as it launched an ambitious turnaround strategy on the back of an impairment-driven $2.3 billion first-half loss.

AMP slumped to a full-year net loss of $2.5 billion and in February said it would not be paying a final dividend as impairments and the sagging wealth division impeded its rebuild.

Chief executive Francesco De Ferrari said the company's immediate priorities were to support the public health efforts, help clients make the right choices, and ensure its staff were safe.

"Our group balance sheet and liquidity remain strong and we are confident in our ability to support clients in this time of need," Mr di Ferrari said on Thursday.

The firm has also advised its client remediation program remains on course to be 80 per cent complete by the end of FY20 and fully complete in 2021.

AMP, which was hammered at the royal commission over its treatment of customers, had repaid $264 million of its estimated $778 million final bill at the time of its full-year result in February.

The company on Monday said its annual general meeting will still go ahead on May 8, but is asking shareholders not to attend in person.

AMP strongly encouraged shareholders to consider lodging a directed proxy rather than attending the meeting in person.

Due to the current government rules on non-essential events AMP has also cancelled the shareholder information session with its Chief Economist Shane Oliver, scheduled to take place prior to the AGM.

Mr De Ferrari, in his first full year leading AMP, banked a statutory pay packet of about $13.4 million.

AMP shares were worth $1.14 before trade on Thursday, having lost more than 40 per cent in value this year amid a wider market downturn.

On Tuesday the company's shares touched an all-time low of $1.08.

The firm has lost close to 80 per cent of its value since March 2018 following its reputational mauling at the Hayne royal commission.