STXNEWS LATAM-Telecom Argentina OKs dividend, will up investment

Fri Apr 27, 2012 4:10pm EDT

Telecom Argentina announced it will pay cash dividends to shareholders totaling 807 million pesos ($183 million), despite government pressure on companies to reduce dividend payments and reinvest their profits.

The amount to be distributed as dividends represents one-third of its 2011 profits. Last year, it paid 915.5 million pesos in dividends, representing about half its 2010 net profit.

Telecom Argentina said it will boost investment in Argentina by more than 40 percent in 2012 to 4.5 billion pesos. In February, the country's powerful planning minister said the government would keep a close eye on whether the company's investments were in line with its profits.

Telecom Italia has a 22.7 percent indirect stake in Telecom Argentina, while the Argentine state pensions agency ANSES owns roughly 25 percent of the company. ($1=4.4175 Argentine pesos) Reuters Messaging: hilary.burke.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net

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