MOSCOW, April 2 Russia's government may allow
state-controlled companies to cut their dividend payments by
calculating them according to Russian accounting standards
rather than international standards to help weather an economic
downturn, Vedomosti reported on Wednesday.
The newspaper, citing sources familiar with a draft
proposal, said the State Property Agency and Economy Ministry
would allow the companies to revert to old accounting ways, seen
as less transparent than international reporting standards.
That could reduce the cost of paying dividends for last year
owed to the state and minority shareholders, helping the
companies to combat a weakening economy hurt by the impact of
the worst East-West standoff since the Cold War over Ukraine.
The World Bank has said growth may fall 1.8 percent this
year in its worst-case scenario.
Vedomosti said the government would decide this month or
Currently, state companies should distribute a minimum of 25
percent of their profits under Russian accounts in dividends.
Under international standards, the level would increase to 35
Vedomosti quoted one source as saying that some companies
would be allowed to pay less than 25 percent of net income
because of worse-than-expected results.
(Reporting by Katya Golubkova, editing by Elizabeth Piper)