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Cendant to Start Paying Dividend in 2004

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xxrayeyes Member Level  Monday, 06/30/03 09:48:15 AM
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Cendant to Start Paying Dividend in 2004

Monday June 30, 8:47 AM EDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Travel and real estate services company Cendant Corp. (CD) on Monday said it plans to start paying a dividend on its common stock in 2004 as its acquisition pace slows, and it said it expects to meet or beat its second-quarter earnings forecast.

The New York-based company said it intends to pay a quarterly dividend of 7 cents a share beginning in the first quarter of 2004. It also said it expects to generate both net cash flow and free cash flow of $2 billion or more per year, and expects to increase its dividend as earnings and free cash flow grow.

Cendant, the owner of the Avis and Budget car-rental brands, said it plans to use the balance of its free cash flow for common stock repurchases and dividends, as well as incremental debt reduction.

The company, whose travel-related brands also include the Days Inn and Ramada hotel/motel chains, said it expects to meet or beat its previous second-quarter earnings forecast of 35 cents per share.

Cendant, which also owns the real estate business Century 21, said it still plans to continue cutting its debts, targeting a reduction of about $1 billion per year.

Shares of Cendant rose to $18.75 in pre-open trade on Instinet, up from a Friday close of $18.06 on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares are up 72 percent so far this year.

©2003 Reuters Limited.

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