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ASG caught out by dividend change
ASG caught out by dividend change

ASG Group took the unusual step yesterday of putting its shares in a trading halt after being told changes to its dividend timetable were made too late.

The Perth-based IT company on Monday had pushed back the payment date for its final dividend by two days to November 2, and record date by a week to October 29.

But after midday yesterday - with about 45 minutes of trading left - ASG requested the halt, saying it wished to make an announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange clarifying the timetable.

Last night the company said it had been advised that the amended timetable could not be processed in the required time frame and as a result would revert to the original plan announced in August.

That means the 3¢/share dividend will be paid on October 31. The record date and deadline for participation in ASG's dividend reinvestment plan will be October 22.

The company, co-founded by chief executive and biggest shareholder Geoff Lewis, paid a total dividend of 5¢ for the year, a cut of 2.5¢. "The board believes that an excessive dividend rate that is inconsistent with the earnings multiple that the market attaches to our shares is not the most appropriate use of the group's resources," its annual report said.

Before the trading halt, ASG's shares were down 3¢, or 4 per cent, to 67.5¢. The stock is down 22 per cent for the year.