28 Mar 2019 11:59

Rostelecom not planning to change dividend policy after Tele2 consolidation

MOSCOW. March 28 (Interfax) - JSC Rostelecom (RTKM) is planning to maintain its current dividend policy following its 100% buyout of the operator Tele2, Rostelecom head Mikhail Oseyevsky told Kommersant in an interview.

Last spring, the company approved an updated dividend policy envisaging dividend payouts of at least five rubles per share and at least 75% of free cash flow. Last year, the company also began paying out dividends twice a year and paid out interim dividends for 9M for the first time (2.5 rubles per share).

On March 12, Oseyevsky confirmed that Rostelecom was purchasing 100% of Tele2, 45% of which it already owned. The sides did not disclose the value of the deal.

"There simply is no number," Oseyevsky said in the interview. "We approach our metrics carefully. The debt to EBITDA ratio here is the basic indicator. We also consider stable relations with shareholders important, so we're not planning to change the dividend policy."

He added that Rostelecom will not be aggressive with respect to dividend payouts and that it is important to the company to maintain a healthy balance between investment in fixed equity and dividends.

Oseyevsky also commented on the possibility that the company will delist from the LSE: "A company that wants to become a national champion has to be public. We consider it important to be present in European markets. We want to be of interest not only in domestic markets, but on international ones, as well."