Abramovich to miss out on $77.5m as Evraz ditches dividend

 

Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich missed out on a cheque for $77.5 million (£50.4 million) as the Russian steel company in which he is the biggest shareholder scrapped its final dividend.

London-listed Evraz, where Abramovich, pictured, has a 31 per cent stake, today said it would not pay a final dividend for 2012 after it slid into higher-than-expected losses.

The previous year it paid a final dividend of 17 cents a share, which for Abramovich’s 465 million shares amounted to $77.5 million.

Today the chairman, Alexander Abramov, said: “The board, having reviewed the results in respect of the financial year and after taking into account the substantial deterioration in the respective prices of steel and steel raw materials towards the year-end, has decided to forgo the recommendation of a final dividend in respect of 2012 in order to preserve the financial standing of the company and provide greater flexibility to manage the current market environment.”

Evraz shares fell 26.9p, or 13 per cent, to 181.7p, putting its position in the  FTSE 100 under threat. The shares have fallen 30 per cent since the start of the year and are down 43 per cent on their November 2011 flotation price of 320p.

Russia’s biggest steelmaker lost $335 million last year against a  profit of $453 million in 2011 as demand weakened. It said that it saw no immediate signs of a pick up in demand in 2013.

Chief executive Alexander Frolov said: “Prospects remain fragile, with strong downside risks and volatility likely to persist throughout the year.”

He added that the company would consider whether or not it pays an interim dividend for the current year once it had more idea where the market was going. He also said it would rein in capital spending by some 10 per cent as it winds up some of its recent investment projects.

Abramovich’s stake in Evraz was today worth £820 million out of his total estimated wealth of £9.5 billion.

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