Belgium's Nyrstar (NYR.BR), the world's biggest producer of zinc, said on Thursday that it had booked an impairment charge of 575 million euros ($741.7 million) and scrapped its 2008 dividend.
The move was triggered by the fall of the company's market capitalisation below its net asset value, coupled with the adverse market conditions in the second half of 2008, the group said.
The charge includes 234 million euros of goodwill created at the time of Nyrstar's formation and the value of property, plant and equipment at Balen, Belgium and Port Pirie in Australia, which have been lowered by 247 million euros and 94 million euros respectively.
It added that although the impairment is a non-cash charge, it would adversely affect the distributable reserves of the company and eliminate the possibility of issuing a 2008 dividend.
Nyrstar said it continues to have a robust financial position and has a consolidated net cash position in excess of 150 million euros, adding that it is trading comfortably within its debt financing covenants.
(Reporting by Antonia van de Velde; Editing by Erica Billingham)© Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved