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Japanese wireless carriers split on dividend plans

Docomo, KDDI keep raising payouts as SoftBank focuses on growth

TOKYO -- Japan's three big wireless carriers are of two minds on what to do with their steadily growing profits, with NTT Docomo and KDDI eyeing more generous shareholder returns while SoftBank Group builds up its war chest for acquisitions and other investments.

KDDI continued a 15-year streak of dividend hikes Thursday, raising its annual payout for fiscal 2016 by 15 yen per share (13 cents) to 85 yen. The company is planning a 5 yen increase for the fiscal year ending March 2018, for which it sees revenue growing 4% to 4.95 trillion yen and net profit rising 3% to 565 billion yen. The planned dividend payout ratio of 39.2% tops its 35% target.

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