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ABU DHABI: Shareholders of ADNOC Distribution, the fuel distribution arm of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, on Thursday approved a hefty increase in the company's dividend policy and a plan to buy back its shares.

ADNOC Distribution plans to buy back up to 62.5 million shares, equivalent to 5 percent of its free float during a 12-month period.

It raised the annual dividend for fiscal year 2019 by 63 percent over the previous year to 2.39 billion dirhams ($650 million), equivalent to 0.1910 dirhams per share, the company said in a statement.

The dividend for 2020 will increase by 75 percent, totalling 2.57 billion dirhams and a minimum payout of 75 percent dividends from 2021 onwards, it added.

"As we expand the ADNOC Distribution business, we will continue to look at both organic and inorganic growth options to deliver ambitious, but disciplined growth that delivers attractive returns," said ADNOC Distribution chairman Sultan al Jaber.

The company plans to open up to 10 fuel service stations each in Saudi Arabia and Dubai this year, adding to the two and four stations respectively it currently has there, John Carey, deputy chief executive, told Reuters after the shareholders' meeting.

ANOC Distribution operated 376 retail fuel stations, 250 ADNOC Oasis convenience stores and 13 Geant Express convenience stores as of end-2018.

Copyright Reuters, 2019