Gazprom becomes Russia’s most valuable company

Russian gas giant Gazprom on Monday became the country’s top publicly traded company by market capitalisation after its shares shot up to their highest level since 2008, driven by a new dividend policy.

The state-owned company’s shares rose 12 per cent on Monday morning from Friday’s close, peaking at Rbs241.65 ($3.68) per share on the Moscow Stock Exchange. This spike raised Gazprom’s market capitalisation to Rbs5.62tn, putting it ahead of Sberbank, the country’s top lender.

Gazprom’s shares have risen sharply since mid-May, when the company recommended more than doubling dividend payments compared with the previous year to Rbs16.61 per share. The news pushed the company’s capitalisation to make it the second most valuable company on the exchange at the time.

Last week, the head of Gazprom’s finance department, Alexander Ivannikov, said the company was working out a new dividend policy, where it will strive to bring its dividend payments up to 50 per cent of net profit within three years, and pay no less than 27 per cent of net profit in the meantime.

The stock rose ahead of Gazprom’s board meeting scheduled for Tuesday.