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Telstra CFO Bullish, Admits Mass Staff Cull “Tough”

Telstra’s CFO Vicki Brady has said she is “very confident” in delivering Telstra‘s fully franked dividend of 16 cents a share, as the telco looks towards its T25 coverage strategy.

Brady spoke at a retail shareholder event today, where she also acknowledged the T22 rollout, which saw a third of staff members axed, was “a tough thing to deliver”, and the 500 million in fixed cost cutting for the T25 would be done “very differently”.

“We have been through such a massive transformation and fundamentally changed the way we operate the business, and that has been tough. I‘ve been the first to acknowledge that,” she said. ”It’s been a tough thing to deliver and I’m constantly blown away by how our teams have remained resilient, and really adopted the new ways of working.

“T25 is not built on that same assumption, having said that of course we will continue to drive efficiency in how we operate the business, and I‘m sure that will mean at some points in time some impacts, but nothing like the scale we’ve seen in T22. That is done.”

Brady said the dividend will grow as T25 ramps up.

“As for when might the dividend grow … we‘re very confident in maintaining the minimum 16 cent fully franked dividend and I know that’s been an important question over the last little while, so have confidence in that.

“Under our updated framework, yes, our objective and principle is all about maximising the fully franked dividend and seeking to grow it over time. Where we stand today is we have a relatively low franking balance at the end of FY21, so what is absolutely critical in terms of having the ability to grow that fully franked dividend is the ability to achieve those underlying earnings ambitions in line with our T25 strategy and our T25 ambitions, and that‘s absolutely what we’re focused on at the moment.

“We haven‘t put a time on that, we’ve just said that we will seek to grow the fully franked dividend over time. And it’s very much linked to achieving our underlying earnings growth ambitions that we’ve got as part of T25.”