Shares in mobile phone giant Vodafone have jumped by more than 4% after the blue-chip company announced plans for a Â£2 billion special dividend.
The windfall stems from Vodafone's US joint venture Verizon Wireless, which has approved the payment of a Â£6.1 billion dividend to shareholders.
Vodafone had been under pressure from some quarters to sell its 45% stake in the venture after a six-year period without any shareholder dividends.
Chief executive Vittorio Colao pointed out that the value of Vodafone's investment had increased significantly in recent years and that Vodafone could now reward its shareholders with an "immediate and sizeable" cash return.
The special dividend, which is equivalent to 4p a Vodafone share, will be paid to Vodafone's shareholders in February. The remaining Â£800 million will be retained to reduce the company's debt.
Shares in Vodafone, which took its stake in the Verizon Wireless joint venture in 2000, were up 7.9p to 173.3p in the first hour of trading.
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