Russia’s Global Ports hiked its full-year dividend more than expected on Monday and was confident that an upbeat outlook for economic growth would deliver a strong performance this year after it cut debts and increased profits in 2011. The ports operator, which raised $588 million in a London Initial Public Offering (IPO) in June, said it would pay an additional $0.21 per Global Depository Receipt in final dividends, bringing the total for 2011 to $0.39. We have very low debt and enough cash to fund our capital expenditure and expansion programme, Chief Executive Alexander Nazarchuk told Reuters, explaining the dividend hike. The full dividend payment of $61.1 million is more than 40 per cent of the company’s 2011 net profit, which was more than the company had previously said it would pay. Net profit last year was $146.9 million, up 23 per cent on the previous year. The group reduced net debt by 53 per cent to $66 million during 2011. Global Ports shares were up 2.7 per cent at $15.05 by 0932 GMT in a falling market, bang in line with the IPO price of $15. They reached $16.5 a share earlier this month, and have outperformed the majority of newly-listed Russian companies, which have a history of underperformance. CONFIDENCE Global Ports, which owns ports in the Baltic and the Far East that export Russian raw materials including fuel oil, coal and metals, said a robust economic backdrop in 2012 had delivered market growth of 12 per cent year-on-year in January and February, making it optimistic for the year as a whole. CEO Nazarchuk said independent market monitor Drewry Shipping Consultants had forecast 13-18 per cent growth for the full year. Russian consumer confidence is strengthening, the Russian economy is strengthening ... Russia exports raw materials and imports consumer goods such as electronics, so consumer confidence is a very relevant metric, he added. Nazarchuk said the company would focus on increasing capacity at its port assets in 2012 — the same growth strategy as last year — but was also keen to make acquisitions if the right deal presented itself. Full year revenue rose 31 per cent in 2011 to $501.3 million, reflecting higher cargo volumes and improved pricing, the company said. Global Ports is 75 per cent owned by the private infrastructure group N-Trans - controlled by three Russian billionaires led by Andrei Filatov. N-Trans also co-owns rail freight group Globaltrans and bridge and road builder Mostotrest, both of which launched IPOs in 2010.