The Cineworld Board now pays four interim dividends for each financial year. Payments in relation to the first three quarters of the year were equal to 25% of the full year dividend of the prior year, with the final payment reflective of the Group's full year earnings performance and resulting in a full year dividend payment aligned with the Group's pay-out ratio.
The Board has proposed the 2019 fourth dividend to be 4.5c per share, reflecting the satisfactory performance for the year, strong cash flow generation and the strength of the Balance Sheet. The total dividend per share for 2019 was 15.5c (2018: 15.0c). The record date for the 2019 fourth dividend payment is 10 April 2020 and the payment date will be 1 May 2020.
The final dividend for 2018 of 10.15c per share was paid on 5 July 2019 to ordinary shareholders. The total cash paid was $139.3m. On 13 June 2019, the Group announced a special dividend of 20.27c per ordinary share which was paid on 5 July 2019, along with the first quarterly payment for 2019 of 3.75c per share. The total cash payable for these dividends was $329.5m.
The second and third quarterly payment for 2019 of 3.75c per share were paid on 4 October 2019 and 10 January 2020 respectively. The total cash paid for these two payments was $102.8m.
Other financial highlights:
Group revenue of $4,370m (2018 Pro-forma: $4,657m) softer as expected compared to 2018, predominantly due to the strong comparative film slate
Group Adjusted EBITDA of $1,033m (under IAS 17) (Pro-forma 2018: $1,072m) and 23.6% margin, up 80bps
Integration benefits from Regal exceeded initial expectation, with estimated run-rate synergies at the time of the acquisition increasing from $100m to $190m
Reduced Net debt to $3.5bn (excluding leases) from $3.7bn at 31 December 2018 and $4.0bn at the time of the acquisition of Regal