Taiwan Mobile Co (台灣大哥大) yesterday said that its board of directors has approved a cash dividend of NT$4.75 per share, the lowest in nine years, due to uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“With lower visibility for the broader economic outlook, the board has proposed to pay [cash] dividend per share of NT$4.75,” Taiwan Mobile president Jamie Lin (林之晨) told an investors’ conference.
The distribution proposal is subject to the final approval by shareholders during the annual meeting scheduled on June 18.
Photo courtesy of Taiwan Mobile
Last year, the company issued a cash dividend of NT$5.6 per common share. Since 2011, it has distributed a cash dividend of at least NT$5 per share.
The planned dividend distribution represents a payout ratio of 105 percent based on last year’s earnings per share of NT$4.51, as well as a yield of about 4.42 percent based on the stock’s closing price of NT$107.5 in Taipei trading yesterday.
Taiwan Mobile plans to allocate surplus capital to fund the NT$13.4 billion (US$449.63 million) in cash dividends it is to distribute this year.
Lin reassured investors that the pandemic would not delay Taiwan Mobile’s plan to roll out 5G services next quarter, saying that it has seen a healthy number of subscriptions for its early-bird package, which was launched in the middle of February.
The early-bird program allows 4G subscribers to switch to a 5G service contract when it becomes available by paying a monthly fee of NT$1,399 — identical to offerings by Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信) and Far EasTone Telecommunications Co (遠傳電信).
Chunghwa Telecom yesterday also said that it would stick to its 5G rollout plan for next quarter.
Taiwan Mobile and Chunghwa Telecom said that the pandemic has boosted demand for high-speed broadband, e-commerce and teleconferencing services.
Aided by growing demand for home broadband, Taiwan Mobile said that its number of cable broadband subscribers last quarter expanded 6 percent annually and 2 percent quarterly to 256,000.
The number of subscribers to plans with connection speeds of at least 100 megabits per second (Mbps) increased 6 percentage points from a year earlier, it said.
Chunghwa Telecom said that its number of subscribers to 100Mbps plans increased 11.4 percent annually to 1.62 million as of March 31.
In the first quarter, Chunghwa Telecom’s net profit contracted 7.6 percent annually to NT$8.32 billion, or earnings per share of NT$1.07, while Taiwan Mobile’s net profit grew 8 percent to NT$3.31 billion, or earnings per share of NT$1.18.
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