French operator Orange reassured investors it still expects to meet its 2020 guidance despite the ongoing Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, even as it moved to cut its dividend payout.
The operator lowered its dividend for calendar 2019 from €0.70 per share to €0.50, adding it would review rates for 2020 at a later date. Payment for the balance due from 2019 will be made 4 June.
Orange CEO Stephane Richard told Financial Times it made the decision with a “heavy heart”, but positioned the cut as the better alternative to outright cancellation.
In a statement, Richard maintained the operator remains on track to meet its 2020 guidance despite the move and economic turmoil caused by Covid-19.
He stated the operator “does not expect a significant deviation from its 2020 objectives” based on currently available information, but added “we are closely monitoring the situation and its developments”.
The executive said Orange’s prospects were bolstered by “the important role played by the telecoms sector during this crisis” as well as “the solidity of our financial situation and the relevance of our strategic action plans”.
In March, Swedish operator Telia cut its 2019 dividend from SEK2.45 ($0.24) per share to SEK1.80 per share due to a drop in advertising revenue associated with Covid-19.