CenturyLink Inc. slashed its shareholder dividend by more than half, causing its stock price to tumble around -9.4% Thursday.
The wireless telecom company’s board agreed to lower yearly dividend to $1 from $2.16 – something that the company expects would free up cash for facilitating its debt repayment. As of Dec. 31, its long-term debt stood at $35.4 billion (compared to $20 billion of shareholder equity).
Along with announcing the dividend cut, CenturyLink also reported its fourth quarter adjusted earnings of 37 cents a share – which is substantially higher than the year-ago quarter’s 18 cents. On an unadjusted basis, the company incurred a loss of $2.41 billion, (or $2.26 a share) for the quarter, compared to a profit of $1.13 billion (or $1.06 a share) of the year-ago period.
CenturyLink’s revenue declined -3.8% year-over-year to $5.78 billion in the fourth quarter.