The Company's dividend policy is part of the Group's wider capital management policy. In light of the conclusions of the strategic review, we will be adopting a capital management policy which provides appropriate flexibility for the period of the managed separation and the costs of that process, as well as providing for the significant investment required in each of the business units.
Consequently, during the period of managed separation, the Board intends to pursue a dividend policy reflecting the operational cash generation, investment and liquidity needs of the Group as well as the capital requirements of the underlying businesses and will target a dividend cover equivalent to 2.5 to 3.5 times Group AOP earnings for each annual reporting period, with the first interim dividend cover equivalent to 3 times Group AOP earnings for the first interim period.
During the period of the managed separation, we also intend to reduce the Group holding company's current debt, mainly through asset disposals. Subsequently and to the extent that excess capital is generated, the Board will consider further returns of capital to shareholders.