Verizon Wireless will not pay annual dividend to Vodafone

Reuters

Verizon Communications (New York) has dashed the hopes of Vodafone (London, England) investors by ruling out a return to a recurring dividend from the two companies' mobile phone joint venture, called Verizon Wireless, the Financial Times reported on Monday.

In an interview with the newspaper on Monday, Lowell McAdam, new CEO of Verizon Communications, said it was not possible to have a policy of annual dividend payment by Verizon Wireless because the leading U.S. mobile operator may need to buy rival businesses or purchase radio spectrum.

McAdam said Verizon Communications, the U.S. telecom company, and Vodafone, the UK mobile group, were working closely together on several other unspecified projects.

He also told the Financial Times that it would be wrong to rule out the possibility of Verizon Communications and Vodafone merging in the future, although he suggested it would not happen in the short to medium term.

Vodafone owns 45% of Verizon Wireless, while Verizon Communications owns the remaining 55%.  Vodafone has not received a dividend from the asset since 2005 because Verizon has focused instead on paying down debt.

Verizon Chief Executive Ivan Seidenberg said at the end of last year that he did not plan to consider a Verizon Wireless dividend until the end of 2011.

 (Reporting by Stephen Mangan; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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