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Brazil’s Petrobras to pay $5 billion in dividends, but hints at changes

SAO PAULO (Reuters) -Brazil’s state-run oil company Petrobras said on Thursday its board approved dividends later this year of about 24.7 billion reais ($4.94 billion), but also hinted at future changes in its payout policy.

Petroleo Brasileiro SA, as the firm is formally known, said in a filing with regulators that it will pay dividends of 1.893577 reais per share in two installments on August 18 and September 20.

The Brazilian oil giant noted that the payouts are in line with its current shareholder remuneration policy, which allows distributions to investors of 60% of the difference between operating cash flow and investments.

However, Petrobras added that its board also determined that the company’s management should prepare a proposal to “improve” its dividend policy, including possibly re-purchasing shares.

The proposal will be submitted for the board’s consideration by the end of July, Petrobras added.

Last year, Petrobras paid out nearly 216 billion reais in dividends, making it a cash cow for investors, but prompting criticism from leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who has argued for bigger investments instead.

($1 = 5.0033 reais)

(Reporting by Carolina Pulice and Peter Frontini; Editing by David Alire Garcia)


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