March 6, 2013 / 9:56 AM / in 5 years

UPDATE 1-Russian broadcaster CTC raises dividends by 21 pct

* To pay $0.63 per share in 2013 vs $0.52 in 2012

* Expects core profit margin similar to 2012 level

* Russian TV ad market seen growing 10 pct in rouble terms

MOSCOW, March 6 (Reuters) - Russian broadcaster CTC Media said on Wednesday it would increase dividend payments by 21 percent this year after higher advertising sales helped to boost cash flow.

The company, which runs entertainment TV channels and production companies in Russia and other former Soviet states, plans to pay $0.63 per share, or up to $100 million in total, up from $0.52 per share or $82.2 million respectively in 2012.

“Last year we improved our cash conversion levels and generated higher free cash flow,” CEO Boris Podolsky said in a statement. He said the increase in dividends reflected the firm’s commitment to returning surplus cash to shareholders.

It also declared a first-quarter dividend of $0.15 a share.

The company also said it expected its margin on the basis of operating income before depreciation and amortisation (OIBDA) at around 32 percent, or similar to the 2012 level when adjusted for impairment charges incurred last year.

Its fourth-quarter net profit came in at $64.9 million, compared to a $24.5 million year-ago loss, beating a $58.1 million analyst forecast, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Quarterly revenue rose 12 percent, year-on-year, to $264.2 million, above the $257.1 million forecast, while operating income (OIBDA) totalled $103.8 million compared to the $94.55 million forecast.

CTC said it expected the Russian TV advertising market to grow by up to 10 percent in rouble terms this year and said that 80 percent of its own Russian national inventory (advertising space) had been already committed at average prices higher than in 2012.

It also plans to repurchase up to 2.5 million shares from the market under its equity incentive plan.

The company is 38-percent owned by Sweden’s Modern Times Group, while Russia’s National Media Group owns a 25 percent stake.

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