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Altice Europe Pledges To Pay No Dividend In Exceptional Times

Telecoms and cable group Altice Europe, which has not paid a dividend since it was incorporated, on Sunday pledged not to pay a dividend to shareholders, citing the current coronavirus crisis.

“Altice Europe commits, in these exceptional times, to pay no dividend to its shareholders,” the group said in a statement.

In April last year, Amsterdam-listed Altice Europe had said in a regulatory filing it had not paid a dividend since the company was founded.

“With the exception of the special distribution in kind of its 67.2% interest in Altice USA Inc. to its shareholders out of its share premium reserve on June 8, 2018, Altice Europe N.V. has not paid any dividends since its incorporation,” Altice Europe said in the filing.

Altice Europe’s comments on dividends follows comments from unions officials that the company was planning to tap a French government support scheme for up to 60% of its workforce in the country.

Some unionized workers have criticized financially solidlisted companies for seeking to take advantage of state aid when there are smaller firms in greater need of support. Smaller rival Bouygues Telecom reversed a decision to temporarily lay off 800 call center staff and client advisers, according to the CFDT union.

A Bouygues Telecom executive dismissed remarks by the CFDT union that the company done this after coming under union pressure.

He said Bouygues Telecom put those particular employees under temporary unemployment while it bought equipment that would allow them to work from home, and had acted in accordance with government orders.

Debt-ridden Altice Europe, founded and controlled by Patrick Drahi, beat quarterly earnings forecasts last week, showing how its turnaround plan was bearing fruit before the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus crisis.

―New York Times

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