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Gujarat NRE pays 15%

Calcutta, June 2: The Gujarat NRE board has approved a 15 per cent dividend for the financial year 2006-07. The company will pay out 80 per cent of the profit achieved last fiscal.

The board has decided on such a high payout on the strength of a booming market for metallurgical coke, vice-chairman and managing director Arun Kumar Jagatramka said.

The domestic price of coke has gone up by Rs 2,500 a tonne from June 1 after the imposition of a 10 per cent additional export tax by China. This trend will continue, Jagatramka said. In absolute terms, the Rs 45.35-crore payout is 30 per cent higher than the corresponding previous period.

The dividend also came on an expanded equity as the company declared a 1:1 bonus issue last fiscal.

The company did not do well in the first nine months of 2006-07 but was back in the black last quarter following a steady rise in prices.

Gujarat NRE has lined up an investment of Rs 250 crore for the next two years in another coke plant in Karnataka, a power plant and a captive jetty.

“Despite the investments, we have decided to give out large dividends as our performance will be much better this quarter,” president Sumit Khetan said. He added that foreign investors were looking to convert bonds into shares as the stock was quoting at 25 per cent premium to the conversion price. The stock closed at Rs 60.10 on the BSE on Friday.

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