Business World

Friday 22 September 2017

UK firms paid £25.3bn in Q2 dividends

British companies paid a record £25.3bn (€29.4bn) in dividends in the second quarter as a rush of one-off payments helped to mask slowing dividend growth as profits flag, research shows.

Data published by Capita Registrars yesterday showed the largest quarterly total for British dividend payments, helping to reverse a 25pc year-on-year slump in the first quarter of 2013.

Capita cautioned, however, that dividend growth is slowing and trimmed its forecast for the year's underlying rise to 7.7pc, down from 8.6pc.

"A record quarter is well worth cheering. It is, however, part of a wider picture that is seeing the pace of dividend growth slow down, as we warned earlier this year, following a profit squeeze on UK firms," Capita Registrars' CEO Justin Cooper said.

After stripping out one-off factors, such as special payments, underlying dividends rose 7.7pc in the first half of the year, against 12.4pc over the same period in 2012.

The record quarterly total of £25.3bn was up 7.6pc on the same period last year, but it was lifted by a flurry of special dividends, led by Antofagasta. The mining company's £502m payout was almost half the £1.2bn total for one-off payments.

Other big special dividends were from insurer Standard Life, returning more than £330m to investors; and media company ITV, which paid £175m.

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