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MOL shareholders okay HUF 127.5 per-share dividend

Shareholders of Hungarian oil and gas company MOL approved payment of a HUF 127.5 per-share dividend on last yearʼs earnings at an annual general meeting on Thursday.  The dividend fund comes to HUF 94.2 bln, state news agency MTI reported.

MOLʼs board continued its practice of raising the base dividend by 9% from the previous year, but also proposed sharing free cash flows with shareholders in the form of a 50% top-up.

The base dividend of HUF 85 plus the HUF 42.5 top-up adds up to HUF 127.5 per share, MTI noted.

Last year, MOL shareholders approved a HUF 625 per-share dividend from a HUF 58 bln dividend fund. Adjusted for the effect of an 8-for-1 share split last fall, that dividend would be about HUF 75 per share. 

The AGM also approved MOLʼs consolidated IFRS report, showing after-tax profit of HUF 316.4 bln, and the parent companyʼs report with after-tax profit of HUF 185.8 bln.

Changes ahead at Croatian unit

Speaking to journalists after the meeting, MOL Chairman-CEO Zsolt Hernádi said MOLʼs Croatian unit INA had achieved a condition that would allow it to start paying dividends again, financing its own capital expenditures and taking on bigger investments. MOL is also ready for INA to "start acting like its other units" and take the necessary steps to boost efficiency and catch up with the rest of the members of the group, he added.

MOL and the Croatian government are the biggest stakeholders in INA but have long been at odds over the companyʼs strategy. Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said late in 2016 that the government would buy out MOLʼs stake in INA, and the Croatian government this Tuesday picked a consortium to act as an investment consultant on the transaction.

Hernádi said MOL has not yet received any offer for its stake in INA.

Sándor Fasimon, COO of MOL Hungary, will be proposed as INAʼs new chairman, he added. MOL executive Zoltán Áldott has chaired INAʼs board since 2010.