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Choice Hotels suspends dividend, share repurchase plan amid pandemic

Choice Hotels International Inc., which earlier withdrew its outlook for 2020 due to the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, decided to suspend future, undeclared dividends for the rest of the year, among other measures.

The lodging franchisor also suspended its share repurchase plan and lowered the compensation of its board, CEO and other executive officers for the rest of the year.

It also implemented a hiring freeze except with respect to certain critical roles and made a temporary furlough for certain positions in Europe.

Other notable measures include the elimination, reduction or deferral of non-essential expenditures, discretionary capital expenditures and investments, and implementation of fee-deferral programs for domestic and international franchisees.

Choice Hotels said the bulk of its domestic hotels are in small towns, suburban and interstate locations and have seen less severe occupancy drops related to COVID-19 than hotels in urban centers or resorts.

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