Novatek Shareholders Approve Arctic LNG 2 Financing

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Novatek's shareholders last week approved higher dividends for 2020 and gave the green light to the $11 billion external financing package for the Arctic LNG 2 project. Arctic LNG 2 financing was one of the key issues on the agenda of the Russian gas company's Apr. 23 annual general meeting, as it aims to tie up the money by end-June (NC Apr.1'21). One-third of the approved financing will be provided by Russian banks, one-third by Chinese lenders and one-third by Japanese and European lenders, CEO and key shareholder Leonid Mikhelson said. Dollar financing is not available due to US sanctions imposed on Novatek in 2014. The external package will cover around half of the $21.3 billion project cost. The 19.8 million metric ton/yr Arctic LNG 2 is scheduled to start in 2023. The shareholders also approved paying a total 107.97 billion rubles ($1.44 billion) in dividends for 2020, or 35.56 rubles/share, up 10% from 2019 payouts. Mikhelson holds nearly 25% in Novatek. Other key shareholders are President Vladimir Putin’s close ally businessman Gennady Timchenko with 23%, and France’s Total with 19.4%. State-run gas giant Gazprom owns a 9.99% stake. Dividends increased despite a 31% drop in adjusted net profit in 2020, but in line with Novatek’s new dividend policy approved in late 2020. The policy calls for no less than 50% of adjusted net profit to be paid out (NC Mar.25'21). Mikhelson said he expected a healthy growth in Novatek’s financials this year, given strong operational results.

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