China Telecom will pay its first-ever interim dividend as investments in 5G infrastructure near the peak and the country’s big three state-owned telecommunication giants shift toward greater shareholder rewards at Beijing’s urging, reports Nikkei Asia. Ke Ruiwen, chairman of China Telecom, told reporters during an online briefing Tuesday that the board has decided to pay 0.12 yuan per share in interim dividends. The dividend payout ratio—the percentage of net profit to be distributed to shareholders—will reach 60%. The ratio was 40% in 2020.
“The company attaches extreme importance on returns to shareholders,” said Ke, who vowed to keep paying close attention to “voices from the market.” China Telecom has pledged to gradually increase the payout ratio beyond 70% within three years of listing in the mainland A-share market, which took place in August 2021.
Promising hefty cash returns to shareholders was part of China Telecom’s touting of its “homecoming” listing in Shanghai, after it was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange.