NZME is to pay out a special dividend after a slower than anticipated take-up of its share buy back programme.
The NZX-listed media company which owns the New Zealand Herald and Newstalk ZB radio station, announced a $30 million buyback programme in December which kicked off after its annual result was announced on February 22.
But so far the company has only bought back around 4 million shares - just shy of $5.25m worth.
Today it said that given the slower than anticipated progress of the buyback it would declare a special dividend of 5cps - equating to $9.7m.
The special dividend will also include a supplementary dividend payable to shareholders who are not tax resident in New Zealand and who own less than 10 per cent of the company.
NZME said the special dividend payment could mean it exceeds the 30 to 50 per cent free cashflow target specified in its dividend policy.
"Pursuant to NZX Listing Rule 3.14.4 NZME discloses that the rationale for paying a dividend otherwise than in accordance with its Dividend Policy is that this special dividend will provide a return of capital to shareholders given the slower than anticipated progress of the buyback programme."
The special dividend also meant that its buyback programme would reduce to $20.3m worth of shares including the $5.3m already purchased.
The special dividend will be paid on July 12 to shareholders on the register as of June 28. It will be fully imputed and partially franked.
NZME shares last traded at $1.14 and are up 52 per cent or 39c over the past year.