Vodafone CFO: Big Dividends Possibly Coming from Verizon Wireless Venture

Vodafone Group Plc, the European telecom giant with a 45 percent interest in Verizon Wireless, could receive some serious paydirt next year.

Vodafone Chief Financial Officer Andy Halford said the company could receive an annual dividend of up to $5.5 billion from its stake in Verizon Wireless, the Financial Times reported.

The dividend estimate is based on the $12 billion a year Verizon Wireless generates in free cash flow, according to the report, which noted that cash to date mainly has been used to pay down debt.

But Verizon Wireless hasnt yet made a decision whether to resume dividend payments, Dow Jones Newswires reported in the wake of the Financial Times story, citing a Vodafone spokesperson.

The wireless carrier stopped making dividend payments in 2005, and Vodafone has been pressing for a resumption of such payments, according to Dow Jones.

A joint venture of Vodafone and Verizon Communications, Verizon Wireless is the largest wireless operator in the United States with 104 million total connections at the end of the first quarter.

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