Gazprom to Pay Out 24% of Profit After Waiver on Dividend Rule

  • Board recommends dividend of 7.89 rubles a share for 2015
  • Shareholders will vote on proposal on June 30 in Moscow

Gazprom PJSC plans to distribute about 24 percent of its international-standard profit after winning a partial waiver from the Russian government on a rule that would have made it pay out twice that amount.

The board is recommending a dividend of 7.89 ($0.12) rubles a share on last year’s profit, the state-run natural gas producer said Thursday in a statement. While the dividend is higher than management’s initial proposal made before the rule was signed into effect, Gazprom’s shares reversed gains and traded down 0.4 percent at 3.15 p.m. in Moscow.

Russia’s government is pushing for more funds from state companies after a collapse in the price of crude oil, the biggest source of budget revenue, deepens the recession and threatens to widen the deficit. The state may force Gazprom to use some of its cash saved under a lower dividend rate to help bail out Vnesheconombank by purchasing its own shares from the state development lender, an official with knowledge of the matter said earlier this month.

The 24 percent recommendation may save Gazprom 207 billion rubles, according to Bloomberg calculations. The company’s management had proposed paying out 50 percent of net income calculated under Russian accounting standards, while the new dividend rule would have state companies pay out half of the higher of Russian or international-standard profit.

The lender, known as VEB, held a 2.7 percent stake in the gas producer, valued at about 97 billion rubles, based on the most recent closing price in Moscow.

The shareholders meeting to vote on the dividend will be held June 30, and the record date for investors eligible for the payout is July 20.

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