NLMK to Pay Highest Dividends Since 2007 as Ruble Boosts Profit

OAO Novolipetsk Steel, Russia’s largest steelmaker, will pay the biggest dividends since 2007 as a weaker ruble helped boost last year’s profit.

Investors may get as much as 14.6 billion rubles ($285 million) for 2014 after the board recommended paying 1.56 rubles per share as a final annual dividend on Friday, on top of the first-half payment.

Russian steelmakers including NLMK, as the company is known, have benefited as the weaker ruble boosted export revenue. Using the gain and a decline in capital expenditure, the company controlled by billionaire Vladimir Lisin cut its net debt to 0.67 times earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization at the end of the third quarter, one of the lowest ratios in the industry. It posted net income of $845 million for 2014, beating analysts’ estimates.

The board also recommended a first-quarter dividend of 1.64 rubles per share, following the approval of a new policy, which should help to boost payments further. The total first-quarter payment may reach 9.8 billion rubles.

NLMK shares rose 2.1 percent to 69.445 rubles at 4:13 p.m. in Moscow.

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