[MOSCOW] Russia's Norilsk Nickel, the world's largest nickel and palladium miner, will add more than US$400 million from asset sales to its interim 2014 dividend, its deputy CEO said on Tuesday, according to RIA Novosti news agency.
Norilsk has embarked on a strategy of selling non-core assets to focus only on large, low-cost production projects.
The company, in which the firms of Russian billionaires Vladimir Potanin, Oleg Deripaska and Roman Abramovich have stakes, has vowed to return US$2 billion a year to shareholders in 2013 and 2014 including at least US$1 billion from selling assets.
The interim dividend for 2014 will include 50 per cent of the company's half-year earnings before interest, tax and depreciation (EBITDA) as well as more than US$400 million from asset sales, Russian state news agency RIA Novosti quoted Norilsk first deputy CEO Pavel Fyodorov as saying.
Mr Potanin, the company's CEO, told Reuters in September that Norilsk would discuss with shareholders extending the schedule of the expected special dividend payment.
Norilsk's dividend payment is a big source of financial support for the indebted aluminium giant Rusal, controlled by Mr Deripaska.
On Monday, Rusal, which controls around 28 per cent of Norilsk, said via a Hong Kong exchange filing that Norilsk shareholders had agreed to put off until 2018 a US$1 billion special dividend planned for the end of 2015.