MOSCOW, April 16 (Reuters) - Russia’s largest lender Sberbank has recommended paying out a record high dividend on its 2018 profit, the bank’s Chief Executive Officer German Gref said on Tuesday.
Sberbank outperformed rivals during Russia’s 2014-16 recession and the economy’s ensuing slow recovery, and it has reported record profits for a few years in a row, including 2018.
Sberbank will pay out 361.4 billion roubles ($5.62 billion) in 2018 dividends, or 16 roubles per share, spending 43.5 percent of its net profit under the international financial reporting standards on payouts to shareholders, Gref said.
“These are the highest dividends that have ever been paid by a Russian company,” Gref said.
“The overall yield of our shares exceeded 30 percent last year... I think our investors should be happy.”
Sberbank shares nevertheless fell after Gref’s announcement, losing 1.8 percent on the day to 233.5 roubles per piece and underperforming the broader market. The benchmark MOEX stock index was up 0.2 percent on the day at 2,549.4.
Some in the market were expecting that Sberbank could increase its dividend payout to 50 percent of its net profit already this year.
Gref said that Sberbank was in a position to spend up to 50 percent of its net profit on dividend payouts if its capital adequacy ratio reaches 12.5 percent, something that is on track to happen in 2020.
A year ago, Sberbank’s board recommended paying 36.2 percent of its net profit in dividends, or 12 roubles per share, doubling the payout from 6 roubles a share in 2016. ($1 = 64.3371 roubles) (Reporting by Tatiana Voronova; Writing by Andrey Ostroukh and Tom Balmforth; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)