Verizon may pay Vodafone dividend soon

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VODAFONE may receive a dividend from its stake in American mobile carrier Verizon by 2012, according to Verizon’s chief financial officer.

John Killian said there was a “reasonable chance” of issuing a dividend in two years, “assuming no change in the structure of the business”.

“It’s a Verizon-controlled decision as to when we pay the cash out and how much we pay,” he added.

A payout could increase Vodafone’s sizeable dividend stream. The firm has not received a payment from its 45 per cent stake in Verizon since 2005.

America’s biggest mobile phone company has instead been pouring money into paying down its $55bn debt pile, most of which relates to its takeover of Alltel.

Vodafone has been under pressure from shareholders and Verizon Group, which owns the remaining 55 per cent of the company, to sell its stake in the joint venture.

Verizon Group has long maintained it would like to take full ownership of the firm, and has previously hinted at a merger with Vodafone once Verizon’s debts are resolved.