Kinder Morgan Slashes Dividend 75 Percent

HOUSTON (AP) — Pipeline operator Kinder Morgan Inc. slashed its quarterly dividend by 75 percent Tuesday, saying that doing so would allow it to fund expansion, eliminate the need to tap equity markets and maintain its credit rating.

         The Houston-based company said its board approved a cut to its quarterly dividend to 12.5 cents per share from 51 cents per share, starting with the fourth-quarter payment payable in February.

         Executive Chairman Rich Kinder said the decision was "not made lightly" and was preferable to asset sales and other options.

         The reduced payout comes as commodity prices continue to plummet. U.S. benchmark crude costs just $37.51 a barrel, near a seven-year low.

         Kinder Morgan shares dropped 5.2 percent to $14.90 in after-hours trading Tuesday to a new 52-week low.




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