UPDATE 1-Russia's MTS recommends higher interim dividends

Fri Aug 1, 2014 2:34am EDT

(Adds year-ago dividends, background)

MOSCOW Aug 1 (Reuters) - Russia's biggest mobile phone operator MTS said on Friday it might increase interim dividend payout by about 19 percent from the year-ago level.

MTS' board has recommended paying a dividend of 6.2 roubles ($0.17) per share and 12.4 roubles per American Depositary Receipt on first-half results, compared with 5.2 roubles the year earlier, it said in a statement.

The total payout for the first half of 2014 would amount to 12.8 billion roubles, compared with 10.8 billion a year ago.

The company said earlier it aims to pay an amount equal to at least 75 percent of its free cash flow or, if greater, 40 billion roubles in annual dividends. For 2013, it had paid 49.2 billion roubles. ($1 = 35.7630 Russian Roubles) (Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; Editing by Elizabeth Piper and Lidia Kelly)