(New story with details on dividend comparison)
MILAN, March 5 Italian rail technology company Ansaldo STS said on Tuesday it expects new orders to remain flat or rise slightly this year in a market marked by a drop in investments and strong competition.
The company, in which state-owned defence group Finmeccanica owns 40 percent, proposed a 2012 dividend of 0.18 euros per share, down 10 percent from 2011 but up 2.8 percent if adjusted for a free share issue.
The total dividend payout rose to 28.8 million euros in 2012 from 28 million euros.
Ansaldo STS said although it was not possible to expect a resumption of its contracts in Libya due to uncertainty in the country, its well-established presence in high-growth markets made it positive about its future prospects.
New orders are seen at between 1.5 billion and 1.7 billion euros in 2013 against 1.49 billion euros ($1.9 billion) in 2012 when they slumped 31 percent.
Ansaldo STS said it expected revenues at 1.25-1.35 billion euros in 2013, against 1.25 billion euros in 2012, with a return on sales of 9.5 percent.
The company said its chairman Alessandro Pansa had decided to resign because of the extra work required by his new role as head of Finmeccanica.
($1 = 0.7677 euros) (Reporting By Danilo Masoni, Editing by Antonella Ciancio and Grant McCool)