Nestle Aims to Lower Dividend Payout Ratio to 55%

Nestle SA fell after Chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe said the food company has an aim to reduce the ratio of its dividend payout to about 55 percent of profit from about 60 percent now.

Nestle dropped 0.5 percent to 67.35 Swiss francs in Zurich trading, after the shares were unchanged before Brabeck-Letmathe’s comments at the Vevey, Switzerland-based company’s annual shareholder meeting in Lausanne today.

Nestle, the world’s largest food company, plans to reduce the dividend to about 55 percent of profit “in the years to come,” he said. Shareholders later approved a dividend of 2.05 Swiss francs per share, or a total of 6.6 billion francs ($7.1 billion). The company had net income of 10.6 billion francs last year.

Robin Tickle, a spokesman for the company, said the amount could be a “bit more or less” than the 55 percent.

(Removes reference to lowering the ratio to 50 percent in story that ran yesterday due to company translator error)
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