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Italtile is set to become a more lucrative dividend payer — if you can get your hands on the shares, that is. The tightly held tile and ceramics retailer and producer is one of the most consistent performers on the JSE (2018 marks its 30th year as a listed company). Last week it announced it would cut its dividend cover to 2.5 times, after years of grumbling from investors that it has kept a "lazy" balance sheet. Jan Potgieter, CEO of Italtile since December 2016, admits the company has always been conservative, opting rather to pay a special dividend when its cash haul got too big. Having too much money, clearly, can sometimes be a bad thing: "The risk is that you sit on cash and you make some bad investment decisions because there’s no pressure," he says. Potgieter adds that long-term shareholders had pushed for "more reward on an ongoing basis," indicating that they’d be "happy to come to the party" should the company need to raise capital down the line. What that means is that, ...

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