Woolworths Limited slashes its dividend… and its share price SOARS

Credit: Scott Lewis

The Woolworths Limited (ASX: WOW) share price was hammered this morning, falling as much as 6.3% to just $20.50, but shares have since rallied to trade 3.7% higher at $22.70 – a 10% turnaround!

It was a terrible result from Australia’s biggest retailer, plagued by a $3.25 billion impairment caused by its decision to exit its Home Improvement operation. Sales fell 1.4% to $32 billion while it reported a net loss of nearly $926 million.

However, investors seem to have come around to today’s announcements, including the appointment of its new CEO Brad Banducci, who was also CEO of the Cellarmasters Group between 2007 and 2011.

Indeed, they may also be responding positively to the group’s reduced dividend! Woolworths cut its dividend to shareholders by 34.3% to just 44 cents, ending a period of uncertainty regarding the matter.

Shares of BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) also rose after they decided to cut its dividend recently, with investors perhaps pleased about the pressure being eased on the pair’s balance sheets.

Brad Banducci is facing an uphill battle to turn Woolworths around. I’d be waiting for at least one more period to see how the business is tracking before buying its shares (unless, of course, the shares fall to a level I simply couldn’t refuse).

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Motley Fool contributor Ryan Newman has no position in any stocks mentioned. Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ASXvalueinvest.

The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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