The top 10 companies contributed 17% of all global dividends, the same proportion since 2016, totalling $45.18 billion.
Companies around the world handed out a collective $263.3 billion in the first three months of 2019, marking a new first quarter record, according to Janus Henderson’s Global Dividend Index.
Defying concerns over a slowing global economy, headline growth for global dividend payments stood at 7.8% compared to the same quarter last year.
Alongside eight other countries, the US and Canada broke all-time records for dividend payments.
Underlying growth, which strips out exchange rate volatility and special dividend payments, stood a 7.5%.
Which companies paid the most in dividends?
The top 10 companies contributed 17% of all global dividends, the same proportion since 2016, totalling $45.18. billion.
Top of the list of the most generous paying companies in the quarter was Switzerland’s Novartis, a place the company has held every first quarter since 2015. But, the report notes its payout growth rate was smaller compared to previous years.
Third on the list was Roche, another Swiss pharmaceuticals company. Combined the sector paid out a record headline high of $30.1 billion. However, the sector’s underlying growth rate was less than the global average.
Helping to drive the payout growth to record levels was a number of unusually large special dividend payments, totalling $13.4 billion. Special dividends made FTSE 100 listed miner BHP the second most generous payer, up from 10th place in the same quarter in 2018. The company’s generous dividend was the result of a windfall from its recent sale of US shale oil assets. This special dividend helped to boost overall payouts (on a headline basis) for the UK, with headline growth coming in at 10.5% and underlying growth at just 4.4%.
Akzo Nobel, the Dutch paint company, also paid a generous $3.4 billion special dividend, putting it in tenth place, the first time it has entered the ranks of the 10 top payers.
Commonwealth Bank of Australia came in a seventh place. Despite holding its dividend flat, reflective of a general weakness in Australia’s banking sector, the company was still the largest payer in the Asia Pacific ex Japan region.
Apple, meanwhile, fell out of the top 10 for the first quarter for the first time since 2013.
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