Dividend guidance – 25 July 2014
As part of its capital management update in February 2014, Chorus indicated that a future dividend policy would be communicated when financially sustainable and there was sufficient certainty of outcomes from the Chorus initiatives, Crown Fibre Holdings discussions and regulatory reviews.
On 25 July 2014, Chorus agreed amendments to its committed bank facilities, providing significant additional financial flexibility and funding certainty. This is to enable Chorus to reshape its business – operationally and financially – following the Commerce Commission’s initial pricing principle decision of November 2013.
As part of these amendments, Chorus has agreed that no dividends will be paid until the later of the conclusion of the Commerce Commission’s final pricing principle review processes or 30 June 2015.
Following on from the withdrawal of dividend guidance on 18 November 2013, Chorus has elected not to pay an interim dividend.
|FY13 Final dividend
||NZ15.5 cents per share, fully imputed.
Supplementary dividend paid to shareholders not resident in New Zealand NZ2.7353 cents per share
|FY13 interim dividend paid 12 April 2013
||NZ10.0 cents per share, fully imputed
NZ1.7647 cents per share supplementary dividend paid to shareholders not resident in New Zealand
|FY12 dividend paid 5 October 2012 (for seven months to 30 June 2012 following Chorus' demerger)
||NZ14.6 cents per share, fully imputed
NZ2.5765 cents per share supplementary dividend paid to shareholders not resident in New Zealand
In light of the ongoing regulatory uncertainty facing Chorus, including the outcome of the Government’s independent review, Chorus has elected to withdraw its FY14 dividend guidance of 25.5 cents per share.
“At this time of unprecedented levels of investment by Chorus, withdrawing dividend guidance is a regrettable but necessary step in light of the ongoing uncertainty Chorus faces,” said Mark Ratcliffe, Chorus CEO.
Chorus is investing roughly three dollars in the Ultra-fast Broadband initiative for every dollar of financing provided by the Crown to support the delivery of the upgraded infrastructure, which is of critical importance to New Zealand’s future.
“We are proud of our role as the cornerstone partner in the Ultra-fast Broadband initiative, which is being delivered like clockwork.”
“We remain hopeful that as the major partner in New Zealand’s largest public private partnership we can work with the Government to find a timely solution to the current issues that works for all parties and provides Chorus and its investors with the certainty we need to get on with delivering this once in many generations infrastructure upgrade.”
Note: If at any time Chorus' credit rating falls below investment grade while Crown Fibre Holdings Debt Securities remain outstanding, Chorus will be prohibited from paying distributions on Chorus Shares without CFH’s approval, while its credit rating remains below investment grade.
Dividend Reinvestment Plan - Suspended
Upcoming ASX Listing Rule changes would require Chorus to amend its current Dividend Reinvestment Plan (DRP) Offer Document. The Chorus Board has decided to suspend the current DRP rather than incur the costs of amending the Offer Document at this time.
This decision follows the 24 February interim result announcement that Chorus has elected not to pay an interim dividend and that “capital management decisions will be communicated when there is sufficient certainty around the outcome of Chorus initiatives, CFH discussions, and regulatory reviews.”
Chorus does not at this point, have sufficient certainty in respect of those outcomes to announce any capital management decisions and deferring unnecessary DRP costs is therefore a logical step.