Listed litigation funder Burford Capital has delayed publishing its much awaited financial results after a coronavirus alert shut down its New York office.

In a statement to the London Stock Exchange, Burford said it had closed the office after a request from city and state officials to ask businesses to have employees work remotely. Several law firms in New York have taken similar precautions.

Burford shares today dropped another 5.5% to trade at 359p after a few days in which the value has plummeted in line with many other listed companies. Shares were trading at 538.5p a fortnight ago and were as high as 1,669p as recently as July.

Burford said it remains open for business and signed two deals for new investments earlier this week, but the release of full-year results will be delayed by up to three weeks. The company said as things stand the delay should not extend beyond Easter. The results announcement had been due on 24 March.

In its statement, the funder said that current events together with the closure of its New York office would ‘inevitably take a toll’ on finance and in-house legal teams.

The results are expected to be closely scrutinised after a year in which a market analysist questioned the leadership and financial stability of the company. Burford posted a trading update last month saying it increased investment commitments by 24% in 2019. This level of new business shows the ‘persistent demand’ for capital in the legal market and its ability to meet that demand, the update said.

Chief executive Christopher Bogart said today: ‘We regret the delay in the release of our 2019 results, but these are unprecedented circumstances and the health and safety of our team is our first priority. This is a rapidly evolving situation.

‘Burford is acting on strong medical advice and following the lead of a number of other respected firms.’

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