May 14, 2019

Vodafone slashes its dividend to shore up its balance sheet

Vodafone has cut its annual dividend by 40 per cent as the cost of buying 5G spectrum forced it to shore up its balance sheet. Nick Read, who took over as chief executive last year, had previously said it could cover its dividend payment of €4.1bn a year after kicking off a cost reduction plan and indicating that it could sell its towers. The prospect of a dividend cut has weighed on shares, down by more than a third in the past year, as spectrum auctions in Italy and Germany, alongside tougher trading conditions in Italy and South Africa, have forced Mr Read to act. Revenues for the full year at Vodafone fell to €43.7bn from €46.6bn as it reported a loss of €7.6bn, compared to a net profit of €2.8bn in 2018, due to a writedown in the value of its Indian business booked during the year. The company, founded by a Stanford University biochemistry professor in 2011, recently signed a deal with Burger King to sell its "Impossible Whopper" across restaurants in US. And finally, the former finance chief of Autonomy has been sentenced to five years in prison by a court in San Francisco for accounting fraud, linked to the $11bn sale of the software company to Hewlett-Packard in 2011.Closing quote - essential comment before you go.

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