UPDATE 1-Altice announces separation of U.S., European businesses

(Adds divestiture details, background)

Jan 8 (Reuters) - Telecoms and cable group Altice NV , which is trying to cut debts of around 50 billion euros ($59 billion), said on Monday its board has approved plans to spin-off its U.S. unit.

The Netherlands-based Altice NV, which will be renamed as Altice Europe, said it aims to complete the spinoff of Altice USA by the end of the second quarter of 2018, following regulatory and shareholder approvals.

Altice has grown in the United States and Europe through debt-fueled acquisitions, raising its net debt to more than five times its annual core operating profit.

The two companies will be led by separate management teams with Altice founder Patrick Drahi retaining control of both companies.

Dennis Okhuijsen will become CEO of Altice Europe and Dexter Goei will serve as CEO of Altice USA.

Franco-Israeli tycoon Drahi is the group's controlling shareholder with a 31.1 percent stake, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Altice NV said in November that Chief Executive Michel Combes had resigned in a management reshuffle, with Drahi returning as president, as the telecoms group seeks to reassure investors following poor results in Europe.

Altice USA on Monday also approved in principle a cash dividend of $1.5 billion to all shareholders immediately prior to completion of the separation. (Reporting by Sonam Rai and Supantha Mukherjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)