VimpelCom’s owner VEON to pay at least 50% of FCF in divs
MOSCOW, Sep 3 (PRIME) -- Amsterdam-based VEON, the sole owner of Russian mobile operator VimpelCom, has set out its future strategy and revised the dividend policy, in force from 2020, to pay at least 50% of prior year equity free cash flow (FCF) after licenses, VEON said on Tuesday in a statement.
For financial year 2019, the total dividend amount, and phasing of payments, will be announced with VEON’s full year results in early 2020.
Dividend payments remain subject to a review by VEON’s board of directors of medium-term investment opportunities and the group’s capital structure. The group’s internal target is to keep Net Debt/EBITDA at around 2.0x, or 2.4x post IFRS 16.
“Our new strategy framework underscores the growth opportunities we see beyond our connectivity business and aligns VEON’s ambitions with our industry’s future development. I am confident that the greater flexibility in how we allocate capital will allow us to execute on these opportunities, reinforcing our market-leading positions and maximizing shareholder returns over the longer term,” VEON CEO Ursula Burns said.
“VEON is performing well in the current financial year against our 2019 targets and today we are increasing our EBITDA guidance for 2019 from low to mid-single digit growth to at least mid-single-digit growth. Previous guidance of revenue growth and equity free cash flow remain unchanged.”
Chief Strategy Officer Alex Kazbegi said that over the next 18 months, there are opportunities “that we believe will best serve investor interests over the medium-term. We are excited about the opportunity in our core Russian market, which we believe can be best accessed through a short-term increase in network capex to allow us to drive medium-term service revenue growth.”
LetterOne of Russian tycoon Mikhail Fridman owns 47.9% of VEON’s common and voting shares, and 34.9% are in free float.