June 11 (UPI) -- Coming off a record-setting year in terms of income, Russian oil company Gazprom Neft's chairman said shareholders are now reaping the rewards.
The board of directors at Russia's third-largest oil producer approved a payout of $1.15 billion in dividends, or about $0.24 per share, 40 percent higher than last year. Gazprom Neft recorded a net profit of $4 billion last year.
"Gazprom Neft's record dividend yield is underpinned by the company's strong financial results," Alexander Dyukov, the company's board chairman, said in a statement during the weekend. "In 2017, Gazprom Neft achieved the highest net profit in its history, with adjusted EBITDA up by more than 20 percent."
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization are used to compare profitability of a company.
For revenue, the $8.3 billion for the first three months of the year marked a 14.5 percent increase year-on-year. Net profit attributable to shareholders during the period was $1.1 billion, a 12.4 percent increase from the same time last year.
Oil represents about 7 percent of the total Russian gross domestic product, according to the World Bank. That metric plunged to around 5 percent in 2015 just as oil prices where targeting historic lows below $30 per barrel, pushing the Russian economy into a recession.
Oil prices have been fluid this year, trading in a range of around $62 per barrel to $80 per barrel for Brent, the global benchmark for the price of oil. Brent was trading near $76 per barrel early Monday.
Speaking last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the economy was on solid ground. Growth was "guaranteed in the short term," but it's sustainable and inflation is low, which he said was a prerequisite for forward momentum. Investments in the Russian economy, meanwhile, are up 4.4 percent from last year.
Gazprom Neft is the oil-producing arm of state-controlled Gazprom. In a report on the first three months of the year, the company's net production, including its share in joint ventures, was around 160 million barrels of oil equivalent, an increase of 1.1 percent from the same period last year.