MOSCOW, June 30 (Reuters) - Russia’s finance ministry expects the country’s largest bank, Sberbank, to sharply increase its dividends over the next three years, according to ministry budget forecasts seen by Reuters.
The finance ministry expects the budget to receive 150 billion roubles ($2.5 billion) in dividends from state-controlled Sberbank next year, versus the 67.8 billion roubles the budget is expected to receive this year.
It sees Sberbank paying the budget 165 billion roubles in 2019 and 181.5 billion roubles in 2020.
The central bank owns 50 percent plus one share in Sberbank and transfers the money it gets from Sberbank dividends to the state budget.
Russian authorities are trying to squeeze more dividends from state companies in a bid to close a budget deficit brought about by weak oil prices and anaemic economic growth.
Sberbank’s 2016 dividends were the highest in the bank’s history, amounting to 25 percent of its net profit.
Sberbank has outperformed rival Russian banks since 2014, when the Russian economy fell into a deep slump as oil prices plunged and the West imposed sanctions on banks and companies over the Ukraine conflict.
It holds around a third of total banking sector deposits in Russia, meaning it is less dependent on more costly central bank financing than other Russian banks, and its pricing power on loans is unmatched.
$1 = 59.3710 roubles Reporting by Darya Korsunskaya; Writing by Alexander Winning; Editing by Mark Potter