Tofas Climbs to Record on Clamor for Dividend: Istanbul Mover

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Tofas Turk Otomobil Fabrikasi AS, the Turkish carmaker co-owned by Fiat SpA, jumped to a record as investors seized upon the last opportunity to secure a dividend.

Tofas rose for a fifth day, climbing 4.8 percent to 13.05 liras at the close in Istanbul, the highest level since at least January 1995. The number of shares traded was 1.1 times the stock’s three-month average daily volume, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The Istanbul Stock Exchange National 100 index advanced 1.3 percent as Standard & Poor’s raised Turkey’s credit rating to BB+, one level below investment grade.

“The movement in Tofas can mostly be attributed to the approaching dividend payment,” Onur Marsan, an analyst at Garanti Securities in Istanbul, said in an e-mailed response to questions. “Today is the last day to buy and thus join investors who will benefit from the payout -- the company will hold its general shareholders meeting tomorrow.”

Tofas reported 2012 net income of 448.3 million liras ($247 million) on Feb. 6, beating the average estimate of 445.6 million liras in a Bloomberg survey of 21 analysts. The company announced it will pay a cash dividend of 0.96 lira a share, corresponding to a dividend yield of 8.3 percent. Subject to shareholder approval tomorrow, the payment will be made April 5.

Tofas, which is 37.9 percent owned by Turin, Italy-based Fiat, trades at 13.3 times estimated 12-month earnings, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That compares with a 12.8 multiple for Istanbul-based Ford Otomotiv Sanayi AS, 6.4 for Russia’s AvtoVAZ OAO and 6.8 for India’s Tata Motors Ltd. Eleven analysts recommend buying Tofas shares, while 15 maintain a hold recommendation, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.