GTE announces continued strong dividend payment and additional stock buy-back program
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STAMFORD, Conn. -- GTE's Board of Directors today declared a regular quarterly common stock dividend of 47 cents per share, and authorized the company to repurchase up to 25 million shares of its currently issued stock in the open market or in privately negotiated transactions.
The dividend is payable on October 1, 1996 to GTE shareholders of record as of August 22, 1996 and is GTE's 241st consecutive quarterly dividend. There are approximately 970 million shares outstanding. The annualized dividend rate of $1.88 is unchanged.
The repurchase of shares will occur from time to time through July 1997, depending upon market conditions, and may be either suspended or discontinued if the company's cash flow expectations change. The shares acquired will be made available for use in the company's employee benefit and dividend-reinvestment programs.
The repurchase program is in addition to the 20 million share buy-back program announced in August 1995. The 1995 program, which is now approximately 80% complete, was initiated to offset routine equity issuances through internal programs.
"Our continued strong dividend and additional share repurchase program show GTE's commitment to maximizing long-term total return to shareholders while preserving GTE's ability to continue to take advantage of attractive long-term growth opportunities within the telecommunications industry," said GTE Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Charles R. Lee.
"The board's decisions reflect GTE's continuing growth in cash flow and strengthening credit position as confirmed by our recent upgrade by Moody's. One year ago we announced a 20 million share repurchase program, and we anticipate completing that program before the end of 1996. The authorization to repurchase an additional 25 million shares, while improving our credit profile, demonstrates GTE's strong capacity to grow its cash flow from operations," Lee said.
With revenues of $20 billion in 1995, GTE is one of the largest publicly held telecommunications companies in the world. GTE is also the largest U.S.-based local telephone company and a leading cellular-service provider -- with wireline and wireless operations that form a market area covering about one third of the country's population.