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Consolidated Communications tumbles toward record low after eliminating dividend

Tomi Kilgore

Shares of Consolidated Communications Holdings Inc. plummeted 23% toward a record low in morning trade Thursday, after the high-yielding broadband and business communications provider said it was elimination its dividend and reported its sixth-straight adjusted quarterly loss. The company said it was eliminating its dividend to focus on reducing debt, to reduce its leverage to 4.0-times ahead of refinancing its unsecured debt no later than mid-2021. As of Wednesday's close, the company's annual dividend rate of $1.55 a share implied a dividend yield of 17.44%, compared with the implied yield for the S&P 500 of 1.96%, according to FactSet. Separately, the company reported a first-quarter loss of $7.3 million, or 11 cents a share, after a loss of $11.3 million, or 16 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding non-recurring items, the adjusted loss was 3 cents a share, narrower than the FactSet per-share loss consensus of 14 cents. Revenue fell to $338.6 million from $356.0 million, but beat the FactSet consensus of $337.1 million. The stock has tumbled 38% over the past 12 months, while the S&P 500 has gained 11%.