board recommends a final dividend of 4.25 pence per
share to shareholders, amounting to £366 million.
This will be paid, subject to shareholder approval,
on 8 September 2003 to shareholders on the register
on 8 August 2003. This takes the dividend for the full
year to 6.5 pence per share, compared to 2.0 pence in
the 2002 financial year. This years dividend is
covered 2.2 times by the profit before goodwill amortisation
and exceptional items. BT remains committed to a progressive
dividend policy, reflecting growth in earnings per share
and an improving balance sheet. In view of our strong
cash generation and success in reducing net debt, in
the 2004 financial year we expect dividend cover to
reduce further towards the 2 times target that we set
out last year.
final and full dividend for the 2002 financial year
was 2.0 pence per share, which absorbed £173 million.
As part of BTs debt reduction and restructuring
plans, the Board decided in May 2001 that there was
to be no interim dividend for the 2002 financial year,
nor any final dividend in respect of the 2001 financial
year. The dividend for the 2001 financial year of 7.8
pence per share therefore solely comprised the interim
dividend paid in February 2001 which absorbed £571