VimpelCom has announced that it will not pay a final dividend for 2013 while the amount it will pay to shareholders this year will be cut dramatically.
The Netherlands-based operator paid over €1 billion in extraordinary dividends last year as well as an interim dividend of €578 million priced at $0.45 per share.
However, VimpelCom’s Supervisory Board has decided that no final 2013 dividend will be forthcoming while the 2014 dividend will be reduced to just $0.035 per share until the company reaches a group net debt to EBITDA ratio of under 2 times.
The operator’s most recent financial results, for the third quarter of 2013, showed the ratio was 2.3 times.
Vimpelcom CEO Jo Lunder said the decision had been made to support deleveraging and investment in future growth.
He added: “Despite the challenging macro and regulatory environments in our markets, we continue to make progress against our Value Agenda, while focusing on creating long-term value by investing in future growth.
“We have strong positions in all of our markets and we see future growth potential, particularly across our emerging markets portfolio. VimpelCom continues to have an attractive combination of mature, strong cash-generating businesses and solid emerging market growth opportunities.”
Last week, VimpelCom announced a series of changes to its top management.
CTO Philip Tohme has been appointed CEO of Djezzy, VimpelCom’s business in Algeria, and no replacement has yet been announced.
Dmitry Kromskiy, Head of the CIS Business Unit, and Jeff McGhie, Group General Counsel & Chief Corporate Affairs Officer have both left the company.
The operator said it is focused on increasing its net cash position by focusing on four specific areas. These include gaining share in mobile data revenues and capitalising on areas such as mobile financial services and partnerships with OTT players.
Cost efficiency, increased network sharing and better customer experience are other areas it will focus on.