Tallink to Pay First-Ever Dividend After Rapid Expansion

April 22 (Bloomberg) -- AS Tallink Grupp proposed its first-ever dividend as the largest Baltic ferry company reduced debts following a fast expansion and renewal of its fleet in recent years.

Tallink proposed a 5 euro cents ($0.07) per share dividend, for a total payout of 33.5 million euros, on last year’s net income of 56.3 million euros, the company said in a regulatory statement today. This compares with a 3 euro-cent forecast by Swedbank Equity Research.

Tallink, which transports passengers and cargo mainly between the Swedish, Finnish and Estonian capitals, in 2006 took over Finnish rival Silja Line in the biggest acquisition ever by an Estonian company.

The third-largest ferry operator globally with revenues behind Denmark’s DFDS Group and Sweden’s Stena Line AB has spent 1.3 billion euros in the last decade to build new ships. Its equity ratio, or the ratio of total equity to total assets, rose to 43.7 percent at the end of last year from 33 percent in 2008.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ott Ummelas in Tallinn at oummelas@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net