By Drew FitzGerald

 

AT&T Inc. reassured investors its cash cushion is ample enough to ride out the current virus-induced economic downturn.

The telecom and media giant is one of the largest dividend payers and one of the most indebted corporate giants. It had a net debt total of $151 billion at the end of last year. It pays out $15 billion in annual dividends. The dividend yield on common stock is nearly 6.8% as of Tuesday.

The Dallas company told stockholders its December-end $12 billion cash pile showed its financial strength and said it has "no need or plans" in 2020 to use the $15 billion revolving credit facility it has on hand.

AT&T also said "it looks forward to continuing to pay a quarterly dividend" but skipped any mention of dividend increases, which the company has provided for the past 36 years. The dividend yield on common stock is nearly 6.8% as of Tuesday.

AT&T's shares gained 4% to $30.62 midday amid a broader market rally. The company reports first-quarter earnings on April 22.

 

Write to Drew FitzGerald at Drew.FitzGerald@WSJ.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 07, 2020 13:40 ET (17:40 GMT)

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