* Post Q2 net loss $661 mln (Poll: profit of $249 mln)
* Raises quarterly dividend payment 5 pct y/y to 2.14 rbls (Adds detail on dividends, CEO quote)
MOSCOW, July 30 (Reuters) - Severstal, Russia's second-biggest steel producer, posted a second-quarter net loss of $661 million due to the sale of its U.S. assets, and said it planned to pay a special dividend of around $1 billion as a result of the disposal.
Earlier this month, Severstal said it would sell two U.S. steel plants, withdrawing from the U.S. market at a time of rising tension between Russia and the West and turning its focus to its domestic business.
Excluding a $1.1 billion non-cash loss resulting from the U.S. asset sale and a foreign exchange gain of around $200 million, Severstal would have posted profit of $206 million in the second quarter, the company said on Wednesday.
Analysts had forecast a profit of $249 million in a Reuters poll, after a loss of $44 million the year earlier.
"We currently anticipate stable conditions in our key markets in the third quarter," Chief Executive Alexei Mordashov said in a statement.
The company said it recommended upping its dividend for the second quarter by 5 percent year-on-year to 2.14 roubles ($0.06) and increasing its quarterly dividend payout ratio to 50 percent of net profit for the period provided certain debt targets are met.
If approved by the board of directors, Severstal will also return around $1 billion to shareholders as a result of the sale of its U.S. operations.
The firm said earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were up 14 percent, quarter-on-quarter, at $606 million, while revenue rose 8.2 percent to $3.3 billion.
($1 = 35.7555 Russian Roubles) (Reporting by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Maria Kiselyova and Mark Potter)