UPDATE 1-Magnit to pay 31 pct of 2012 earnings in dividends
* Recommends dividend of 55.02 roubles per share for H2 2012
* FY 2012 payout 81.35 rbls per share vs 22.93 rbls in 2011
* Paying 31 pct of earnings in dividends vs 17 pct in 2011
* Aims to pay out 25-35 pct in next 2-3 years
MOSCOW, March 26 (Reuters) - Fast-growing Russian food retailer Magnit plans to pay 31 percent of last year's net income in dividends, more than tripling the payout from the previous year.
The board has recommended a dividend of 55.02 roubles ($1.78) per share on second-half results, in addition to 26.33 roubles paid for the first half of 2012, Magnit said on Tuesday.
That would bring the payout for the whole of 2012 to 81.35 roubles per share, or 7.69 billion roubles ($249 million).
Magnit, which saw its net profit almost double last year to $803.9 million, said in January it aimed to raise its dividends as a proportion of profits to 25-35 percent in the next two or three years.
In 2011, the group paid out about 17 percent of its net profit in dividends.
The company, based in the southern city of Krasnodar, has around 7,000 shops mostly in Russian provinces, and is ranked second-biggest by revenue behind domestic rival X5.
Smaller competitor O'Key, the only other Russian listed food retailer which pays dividends, aims to return at least 25 percent of earnings to shareholders.
Electronics retailer M.Video paid around 30 percent of 2011 net profit in dividends.