TDC To Pay $1 Billion Interim Dividend

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – Danish telecommunications group TDC (TDC.CO) will pay an interim dividend of 30.25 crowns per share for a total payout of 5.99 billion crowns ($1.16 billion), the company said on Thursday.

“Following this interim dividend, the board of directors does not expect to recommend any ordinary dividend for the fiscal year 2009 to the shareholders at the annual general meeting 2010,” TDC A/S said in a statement.

The company gave no reason for the large payout, and a TDC spokesman declined to elaborate.

The dividend is equal to 11.4 percent of TDC’s Thursday closing share price of 265 crowns, which valued the whole company at about $10.18 billion. It is more than three times TDC’s 2008 dividend of 9 crowns per share.

Payment of the dividend will take place on Dec. 23, the company said.

TDC is widely tipped as a candidate to carry out a large offering of shares in 2010, as its private equity owners have been reported to be preparing a sale.

Last month, TDC said it would merge with its majority owner, Nordic Telephone Company (NTC), which is holds 87.9 percent of the stock. The merger was seen as a further sign that its owners are preparing a flotation of TDC. [ID:nGEE5AP1VP]

NTC is a consortium of private equity firms Apax Partners, the Blackstone Group (BX.N), Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) [KKR.UL], Permira Advisers [PERM.UL] and Providence Equity.

An offering of TDC stock could be the biggest share sale in Denmark since insurer TrygVesta’s (TRYG.CO) in 2005.

Last month, budget airline Cimber Sterling (CIMBER.CO) raised 275 million crowns in a fully subscribed IPO.

On Thursday, Danish ambulance service, rescue and safety group Falck said its private equity owners were preparing an IPO, which financial daily Borsen said could take place as early as the first half of 2010 and could be worth 9 billion crowns. (Reporting by John Acher; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)