Travis Perkins has put its planned demerger of home and DIY business Wickes on hold in light of “extreme stock market volatility”.

The builders merchant announced to the stock market today that it would be shelving the planned demerger of Wickes and suspended paying a full-year dividend to shareholders due to the “rapidly evolving situation” with the virus.

It said “good progress” had been made on the demerger in recent months but said ongoing market volatility meant the process would be paused so the Travis Perkins board can “focus on managing the group through the current challenges”.

Travis Perkins said it was “impossible to know exactly when it will be appropriate” to restart the process but said its intent to decouple Wickes as a separate, listed business “remains unchanged”.

In line with numerous other retail businesses, the company said it would be withdrawing all market guidance in the near term and would provide further updates “when there is greater clarity” about the effects the coronavirus epidemic has had on the wider trading environment.

Chief executive Nick Roberts said: “Our highest priority is the health and safety of our colleagues, customers, suppliers and all other stakeholders, and we have taken decisive action to mitigate the risks we are facing as a business and implementing contingency plans across the group.

“We are absolutely committed to fulfilling the essential role we play in the UK construction industry supply chain in keeping the UK dry, warm, maintained and operational; providing materials, working capital funding and support for our trade customers, large and small.

“Whilst there is unprecedented uncertainty on how the virus outbreak will directly impact our markets and our businesses, we enter this period from a position of strength and security, with a strong balance sheet and access to significant committed liquidity.”