CWC to halve divi after tough trading

Cable & Wireless Communications, the British-based overseas phone group with operations ranging from Macau to Jamaica, is to halve its dividend next year to reflect tougher trading.

The group has suffered because a fall in tourist numbers has hit local economies. It also said the use of mobile data in the West Indies lags behind much of the rest of the world and that this year's dividend of eight cents a share would be cut to four cents having "reassessed the financial outlook for the group".

Though operating profits for the year were 5 per cent higher at $557m (£345m), that largely reflected the takeover of the main Bahamas telecoms business last year.

After restructuring costs of $66m and writedowns of $244m, pre-tax profits slumped 77 per cent to $104m.

Tony Rice, the chief executive, said: "We expect improved cash generation in the coming year."