Russia’s Budget Plan Shows Dividend Increases Delayed to 2016
EDT September 30, 2013 Protesters and activists demonstrate to support the 30 activists arrested in Russia in front of the Russian Embassy in Bern, Switzerland, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013. (Photo: Peter Klaunzer, AP) Russian officials say activists threaten security of personnel on Arctic offshore drilling platform. Thirty people on Greenpeace ship have been jailed for two months. Russian officials say charges will be filed soon against the activists. SHARECONNECT 29 TWEET COMMENTEMAILMORE MOSCOW (AP) Russia’s main investigative agency on Monday accused Greenpeace activists of posing a “real threat” to the security of personnel on an offshore drilling platform in the Arctic, another indication that Moscow plans to prosecute the jailed environmentalists for their protest. All 30 people who were on a Greenpeace ship, including two journalists, have been jailed for two months pending an investigation into their Sept. 18 protest at the platform owned by state-controlled energy giant Gazprom. The Investigative Committee said charges would be filed soon, but did not specify whether it was still considering charging the activists with piracy, a crime punishable by up to 15 years in prison. The investigators said the Greenpeace ship, the Arctic Sunrise, had violated the 500-meter security zone around the platform and that it was carrying equipment whose purpose was still unclear. In a statement, the investigators said they had seized some equipment and documents from the ship as part of their ongoing search. Greenpeace Russia denied the ship had ventured closer than the 500 meters established by Russian and international law. The inflatable boats used by activists to scale the offshore platform did violate this zone, but posed no danger, the organization said. Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.
State companies are set to reach 35 percent of profit under International Financial Reporting Standards in 2016, Svetlana Nikitina, a Finance Ministry spokeswoman, said today by phone. The draft budget on the State Dumas website shows estimated payments for 16 companies, including oil pipeline monopoly OAO Transneft, telecommunications operator OAO Rostelecom and airline OAO Aeroflot. Russia is weighing dividend increases to help attract investors and balance the budget after President Vladimir Putin pledged to boost social spending. The government is freezing price growth next year for monopolies including Gazprom and Transneft to fight inflation, while Putin today told state companies to maintain investments to pull the economy out of its slowest growth since a 2009 recession. We are disappointed and hope the government will speed up the dividend reform, Lev Snykov, a partner at Greenwich Capital in Moscow, which holds Russian stocks including Gazprom, said by phone today. The investment attractiveness of state-owned energy companies will clearly suffer should the RAS-based dividend policy remain for longer. Gazprom dropped 1.6 percent to 143.35 rubles, while Transneft sank 1.5 percent and VTB fell 1.3 percent. The government will set companies payouts on an individual basis during the transition period in 2014 and 2015, according to Nikitina. Gazprom, the worlds biggest natural gas producer and Russia s gas pipeline owner, and Transneft plan to pay out 25 percent of 2013 net income under Russian accounting standards. Gazprom said earlier this year it would switch to basing distributions on international-standard profit from 2014, after previously saying it was aiming for the 2013 financial year. A move to international standards isnt realistic before 2015 or 2016, Transneft President Nikolay Tokarev told reporters today in Astrakhan. VTB Chairman Andrey Kostin said yesterday that the bank isnt against paying out 35 percent of net income.