Gazprom Promises to Maintain Dividends as Europe Revenue Drops

OAO Gazprom, the world’s biggest natural-gas producer, plans to pay out dividends on 2015 profit at no less than last year’s level even as its dollar revenue slips to the lowest in a decade.

“We’ll aim to keep the level of dividends the same,” Chief Financial Officer Andrey Kruglov said Thursday at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, adding he hopes the number will rise in absolute terms. “We have enough cash flow to maintain investments and pay dividends.”

Gazprom’s sales abroad, its main source of revenue, fell to an 11-year low as the European Union and Ukraine sought to cut their reliance on Russian energy supplies. While the state-run company forecasts a rebound in exports this year, its dollar revenue may sink to the lowest in a decade because of weaker prices, according to a February forecast by the government.

The company plans to raise its 2015 investment program to about 1 trillion rubles ($18.8 billion), Kruglov said. Gazprom previously announced an 840 billion-ruble spending plan, as it develops projects such as the Turkish Stream pipeline under the Black Sea and new fields and infrastructure to supply gas to China.

Gazprom’s board recommended a 2014 dividend of 7.2 rubles per share in May, keeping it at the previous year’s level even as profit declined.

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