Vimpelcom slashes its dividend

Vimpelcom, Russia’s third biggest mobile operator, said it plans to slash its dividend to pay down debt piled up in an aggressive expansion drive, marking an unexpected policy shift that spooked shareholders and sent its shares down 13 per cent. Vimpelcom's expansion into Africa, Asia and continental Europe left the group with more than $20bn in debt, according to its latest quarterly results. The firm will cut its annual dividend payout to 3.5 cents per share from 2014, down from guidance of 80 cents.