BRUSSELS, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Belgian telecoms operator Belgacom said on Friday that it would lower its dividend for the next three years, as it forecast a 3 to 4 percent fall in 2014 core profit.
Belgacom, which is 53.5 percent owned by the Belgian state and whose dividends are a welcome stream of income for the country, will pay out a total dividend of 2.18 euros per share in 2013, falling to 1.50 euros in each of the next three years.
When the group’s new chief executive took office in January, she said that she would take a close look at the company’s dividend, and balance shareholder remuneration with the need to invest in the group’s networks.
Core profit fell 3.7 percent in the fourth quarter to 413 million euros ($565.05 million), above the 399 million expected in a Reuters poll of 14 analysts.
The group had guided for a 2013 fall in revenues of between 1 and 2 percent and a decline in core profit of between 4 and 6 percent. (Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; Editing by Catherine Evans)