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Magyar Telekom management proposes keeping dividend unchanged

Magyar Telekom Nyrt, Hungary's former phone monopoly, proposed keeping its 2006 dividend at Ft 70 ($0.38), the same level as the previous three years.

Shareholders, including majority owner Deutsche Telekom AG, will vote on the dividend proposal at an April 26 meeting, the company said in an e-mailed statement today. Budapest-based Magyar Telekom Nyrt wants to keep the dividend unchanged even after CEO Christopher Mattheisen, who took over in December, said the company will look to stoke profit growth through acquisitions. „The proposed dividend level is in line with Magyar Telekom's growth strategy and the aim of maintaining its net debt ratio in the targeted range of 30% to 40%,” the company said in its statement.

The shares traded at Ft 960 at 2:42 p.m. in Budapest, unchanged from yesterday's close. They have lost 9.4% this year, the third-worst performance on Hungary's benchmark BUX stock index, which shed 5.7% in that period. Magyar Telekom on February 13 said full-year 2006 net income declined to Ft 76.7 billion from Ft 78.4 billion the year before. The company last year raised its original Ft 70 dividend proposal to Ft 73, to compensate shareholders for a delay in payment until December after an investigation into its Montenegrin unit. (Bloomberg)