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    Embattled EMI suspends dividends until 2009

    EMI Group, the world's third-biggest music company but struggling with sliding sales in the United States, said Wednesday that it will pay no more dividends until 2009.


    The British company meanwhile unveiled long-awaited plans to borrow against its back catalogue of hit songs by artists including the The Beatles and Coldplay.


    The group, which has issued two profit warnings since the start of 2007, said it hopes to issue debt secured against revenues from its music publishing arm before the end of the current fiscal year, ending in March 2008.

    The music publishing division receives a fee each time one of its catalogue tracks is played on the radio or used in a commercial, and has steadier cash flows than the recorded music unit, which has been hard hit by declining sales of compact discs in the United States.


    EMI's net debt stands at about 910 million pounds (1.347 billion euros, 1.831 billion dollars), the group said on Wednesday.


    "In view of the company's funding requirements, the board has decided to suspend dividend payments until the benefits of the restructuring process have been fully realised," EMI said in a statement.

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