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Gazprom Gains Most in Five Weeks on Higher Dividend Expectation

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March 30 (Bloomberg) -- OAO Gazprom, the world’s biggest natural-gas producer, jumped the most in five weeks in Moscow trading on expectations that the 2011 dividend payout will exceed the budgeted level.

Gazprom shares advanced as much as 2.6 percent and traded up 2.5 percent at 181.46 rubles at 1:37 p.m. on the Micex stock exchange, the biggest gain since Feb. 24.

The state-controlled gas exporter and producer may pay record dividends of 220 billion rubles ($7.5 billion), or 9.29 rubles a share, for last year, according to Bloomberg estimates based on profit and company dividend guidance.

Net income to local accounting standards more than doubled to 880 billion rubles last year as the Russian state-run gas exporter and producer benefited from rising prices for Europe. The company budgeted 25 percent of profit for dividends, Chief Financial Officer Andrey Kruglov said on Feb. 1.

Gazprom’s earnings “give a fresh twist to the improving dividend outlook for the Russian stock market,” VTB Capital said in a research note today. “The gas giant’s net income came above expectations and thus hints at upside risks to dividend expectations.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Anna Shiryaevskaya in Moscow at ashiryaevska@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at wkennedy3@bloomberg.net

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