Anhanguera Educacional Participacoes SA, Brazil’s second-largest education company by market value, rose the most in three months on a plan to increase dividend payments in 2013 and cut debt by half.
Shares gained 3.5 percent to 33.95 reais at 5:35 p.m. in Sao Paulo, the steepest one-day advance since Sept. 13. The BM&FBovespa Small Cap index rose 0.4 percent.
Anhanguera will increase dividends to 25 percent of net income from 1 percent currently, according to a press officer. The company also seeks to reduce debt in 2013 to less than once its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or Ebitda, from two times this year.
“More dividends and less leverage, that sounds like music to investors’ ears,” Sandro Fernandes, a trader at brokerage Corval, said by phone from Belo Horizonte, Brazil. “Education companies in Brazil are growing a lot because more people have access to universities and the government provides students with cheap credit.”
Anhanguera’s adjusted net income climbed to 47.9 million reais ($22.9 million) in the third quarter from 17.6 million reais a year ago, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The dividend increase was reported today by the newspaper Valor Economico, which cited Chief Executive Officer Ricardo Scavazza.
Anhanguera had gained 63 percent this year through yesterday, almost three times the increase during the same period in the small-cap index.