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More dividend pain a risk for Telstra

Benita Kolovos
Telstra has cut its dividend and one analyst says more cuts could be coming

Telstra shareholders have suffered a drop in their dividends this year and may face another cut in the once-reliable payment next year, one analyst has warned.

The telco giant declared a final dividend of 11 cents per share during its full-year results on Thursday - down from a payment of 15.5 cents a year earlier.

It leaves Telstra's full-year dividend for 2017/18 at 22 cents, down from 31 cents a year ago.

Telstra is in the first year of a revised dividend policy that moves away from the company's long-standing practice of paying out almost all underlying profit to its 1.4 million shareholders.

Citi analyst David Kaynes has warned more payout cuts are likely and are a "key uncertainty" for the telco's shareholders.

"We expect the total dividend for (financial year 2018/19) to fall to 16 cents per share," Mr Kaynes said in a research report following the results.

Telstra CEO Andrew Penn would not be drawn on the 2018/19 dividend payout during a briefing call with analysts on Thursday.

"The dividends is going to be a matter for the board, they'll make that declaration and decision in conjunction with half-year results and full year results," he said..

Mr Penn warned increased competition and the continued impact of the NBN rollout will pressure Telstra's earnings in the current financial year, after the telco giant's full-year profit dropped 8.4 per cent to $3.56 billion.

Despite the fall, Telstra shares were up 17 cents, or 5.9 per cent to a three-month high of $3.06 at 1447 AEST.