OMV Raises Dividend By 20% As Cash Pile Grows

OMV Raises Dividend By 20% As Cash Pile Grows
Austrian oil and gas group OMV raises its dividend by 20% as free cash flow turned positive last year.


VIENNA, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Austrian oil and gas group OMV raised its dividend by 20 percent to 1.2 euros ($1.27) for 2016, it said on Thursday, as free cash flow turned positive last year, climbing to 1.08 billion euros on cost savings and divestments.

Austria's biggest listed company increased its savings target this year to 250 million from an earlier goal of 150 million and slashed its investment budget for the year by 10 percent to 2 billion euros, it said.

OMV Chief Executive Rainer Seele is reversing the policy of his predecessor, who targeted output growth by buying assets in the North Sea, where production is expensive.

Under Seele, the firm swapped a stake in its Norway holding for Siberian assets of Russia's Gazprom.

Seele aims to generate cash by selling off assets including a stake in Gas Connect Austria and Turkey's Petrol Ofisi, a divestment OMV expects to conclude this year.

OMV reported fourth quarter clean current cost of supplies (CCS) earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) of 315 million euros, up 68.4 percent from a year earlier and above the average estimate of 305 million in a Reuters survey of analysts.

This measure strips out special items and inventory holding gains or losses.

(Reporting By Shadia Nasralla; editing by John Stonestreet)


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