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Lithuania Gas Utility Jumps on Dividend Proposal: Vilnius Mover

Lietuvos Dujos AB, the Lithuanian gas utility controlled by OAO Gazprom and EON AG, rose to a 21-month high after management proposed paying record dividends before the company spins off its transmission activity.

The shares, which were priced near yesterday’s close, rose in the last minute of trading in Vilnius to end up 2.3 percent at 0.70 euro, the highest level since June 1, 2011, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Volume of 24,630 shares was the equivalent of 120 percent of the three-month daily average.

Management asked shareholders when they meet on April 25 to approve a 62.8 million-euro ($80.8 million) dividend payout, or 0.134 euro per share, the company send today in a statement on the website of the Nasdaq OMX Vilnius exchange just before the end of trading. The company had net income of 22 million euros in 2012, it said.

Lietuvos Dujos’s market value of 328 million euros has increased 20 percent since March 7, when the company said it plans on July 31 to transfer its transmission activity to AB Amber Grid, a new company that will apply for permission to trade its shares on the stock exchange in Vilnius.

Lithuania is splitting ownership of gas sales and transmission activities as part of a European Union drive to force dominant energy companies to improve access for competitors.

Gazprom owns 39 percent of Lietuvos Dujos shares, while EON AG of Germany owns 37 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Lithuania’s Energy Ministry owns 18 percent.

Of the existing 469 million shares with a nominal value of 1 litas, 178 million, or 38 percent, will be transferred to Amber Grid, with 291 million remaining in Lietuvos Dujos, according to the spinoff terms. Gazprom and EON will need to sell their stakes in Amber Grid during 2014.

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