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Russian Moguls Received $11 Billion in Dividends in the Past Year

Executives and shareholders of some of the largest companies in Russia have pocketed the equivalent of more than $11 billion in dividends in the past year as many firms resumed dividend payments, a Bloomberg analysis showed on Tuesday.

At least 12 Russian executives, former executives, and shareholders of some of the major local firms – including in the energy sector – received more than $11.4 billion (1 trillion Russian rubles) in dividends in 2023 and so far in 2024, according to data from company filings compiled by Bloomberg.

Top of the list is Vagit Alekperov, the former president of Russian oil giant Lukoil, who resigned from the company in 2022 but continues to be a shareholder. Alekperov is estimated to have received $2.1 billion (185 billion rubles) in dividends. Alekperov is sanctioned by the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. 

Another former Lukoil executive, Leonid Fedun, is also among the businessmen who have gained the most in dividends from Russian companies. Fedun is also a shareholder in Lukoil and is under Western sanctions.

Leonid Mikhelson, owner of LNG developer Novatek, and tycoon Gennady Timchenko, who holds a share in the Russian gas company, have also received generous dividends from their stakes in the company, according to Bloomberg’s analysis of public data.

After pausing dividends amid heightened uncertainty in 2022 in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Russian firms reinstated dividends last year as the economy fared better than expected.

The tycoons want to pocket the money in the form of dividends now instead of giving them up in the form of potentially higher taxes later if Russia moves to boost government income to pay for the war effort, analysts say.

“It is a case of better to take the money out now rather than risk losing it in taxes next year,” Chris Weafer, CEO at Macro-Advisory Ltd, told Bloomberg.  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on July 09 2024 said:
    With Russia's economy growing at 3.2% this year and flourishing under the most unprecedented Western sanctions in history, executives and shareholders of Russian industrial companies particularly oil and gas companies are reaping the fruits of their success.

    Russia's GDP has overtaken Japan's and Germany's this year reaching $6.45 trillion in 2023 compared with $6.3 trillion for Japan's and $5.9 trillion for Germany's all based on purchasing power parity (PPP) according to the latest World Bank data.

    We can't say the same about Western economies and their industrial sectors who are facing slow growth if not stagnation in some cases.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Econoist
    Global Energy Expert

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