September 30, 2016 / 5:00 PM / a year ago

Russia may give state companies leeway on paying dividends to state: TASS

MOSCOW, Sept 30 (Reuters) - Russia's economy ministry has proposed exceptions for state-owned companies that have been told to spend 50 percent of their profits on dividend payouts to the government, TASS news agency reported on Friday.

The government said in April that companies including natural gas giant Gazprom, diamond producer Alrosa, oil companies Bashneft and Zarubezhneft, and RusHydro, Sovkomflot, Transneft and Rosneftegaz must follow the policy in 2016.

The finance ministry has since proposed extending the order over the next three years. But some companies, such as Gazprom, have managed to pay less than ordered on dividends this year.

"We believe that there could be certain exceptions," TASS quoted Nikolai Podguzov, a deputy economy minister, as saying.

"We see that the government takes individual decisions on dividends for a series of companies, depending on their investment programmes." (Reporting by Lidia Kelly and Anastasia Teterevleva; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)

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