The Gazprom board of directors promises a record dividend. But now the shareholders even get nothing: At the general meeting, the owners collect the plan. The number of dissenting votes shows a striking parallel to the Russian state. The stock plummets.
The Russian energy giant Gazprom surprisingly paid no dividends for the past year and the stock market crashed as a result. "The shareholders have decided that in the current situation it does not make sense to pay dividends on the result for 2021," said Gazprom Vice President Famil Sadygow via the state-owned company's Telegram channel. For Gazprom, the implementation of the investment program with the connection of the Russian regions to the gas network and the increased tax demands of the government are priorities.
The group is not serving its shareholders for the first time since 1998. The Gazprom board of directors had previously announced a record dividend of 52.53 rubles per share (currently equivalent to around one euro) in view of the high profit in the previous year. However, this proposal for the distribution of profits was rejected by the owners at the general meeting. The number of dissenting votes roughly corresponds to the number of shares that the Russian state holds in the group. The bonuses for the board of directors, on the other hand, were approved with about the same number of votes.
In 2021, Gazprom made a record profit of 2.09 trillion rubles (about 27.5 billion euros) thanks to sharply increased oil and gas prices. The group announced that neither the plans of the G7 countries to limit gas prices nor the lower gas deliveries to Europe would reduce its income and tax payments.
Small shareholders reacted to the unexpected cancellation of dividends with substantial sales. The share lost more than 30 percent in value within a very short time. The dividend was one of the most important factors for the attractiveness of the share, it said. "The waiver of the dividend payment for 2021 not only deprives investors of the opportunity to request payments for 2021, but also creates risks for future dividend payments", which is a very negative factor, commented the Russian investment bank BKS.
Gazprom's decision comes after the G7 announced in recent days that they would review possible price caps for Russian oil and gas in the wake of the Russian attack on Ukraine. This was intended to limit the Russian government's ability to finance its invasion of Ukraine. Russia then threatened to change the gas supply contracts.