Far EasTone Telecommunications Co Ltd (FET, 遠傳電信), the nation’s third-largest telecom, yesterday said its board had approved raising its cash dividend to NT$3.5 per share, the highest level in the company’s history.
The cash dividend distribution represents a 100 percent payout ratio based on last year’s net profit of NT$10.6 billion (US$357 million), or NT$3.25 per share, together with a special cash dividend of NT$0.57 per share.
That represented a 4.8 percent dividend yield based on Far EasTone’s closing share price of NT$72.9 yesterday.
In comparison, Far EasTone last year distributed a NT$3 per share cash dividend, including a NT$0.54 per share special cash dividend.
“This demonstrates our consistent dividend policy with a good track record,” Far EasTone president Yvonne Li (李彬) told an investors’ conference.
The upcoming 4G license investment would not affect the company’s cash dividend policy, Li said in response to an investor’s question.
This year, Far EasTone said it plans capital spending of NT$10.5 billion, accounting for about 12 percent of the company’s total revenue.
This would be mostly used to improve 3G network coverage and on 4G technology. FET said it plans to add 1,000 base stations.
Far EasTone yesterday said net profit rose about 16 percent to NT$2.78 billion, or NT$0.85 per share, last quarter, compared with NT$2.4 billion, or NT$0.74 per share, in the same period last year. The figure also exceeded the company’s forecast of NT$2.53 billion.
The growth was supported by a strong increase in mobile data services. Revenue from mobile data jumped 35.4 percent to NT$5.34 billion last quarter, compared with NT$4.02 billion a year ago, the company’s financial statement showed.
That brought mobile data revenue to more than 35.4 percent of the company’s overall service revenue last quarter from 32.6 percent in the prior year.
Li attributed the growth to higher smartphone penetration, which increased to 48 percent last quarter from 26 percent a year ago.
Separately, the company said its board had also approved the issueof NT$10 billion in corporate bonds to replenish operation funds, repay debts and fund capital spending.