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Kinder Morgan cuts shareholder payouts

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World Pipelines,

Kinder Morgan Inc. has slashed its dividend by 75%, marking the first time the US pipeline operator has cut payouts to shareholders since it has been a publicly traded company.

The heavily indebted company said its board had approved the move to enable it to use cash for investment in expansion, to avoid the need to issue more shares “for the foreseeable future”, and to maintain a “solid” investment grade credit rating.

Kinder Morgan is the largest operator of gas and oil pipelines in North America.

The move will reduce the annual dividend to 50 cents a share from approximately US$2 a share.

Moody's put the company on credit watch negative last week after it bought a stake in a leveraged natural gas pipeline system, and several analysts downgraded the stock.

Edited from various sources by Elizabeth Corner

Sources: ReutersFinancial Times

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