Belfast Telegraph

UK companies cut dividend payouts by £10bn as crisis bites

By Holly Willams

Dividend payouts for investors in UK companies fell £10bn last year and will continue to disappoint in 2010, a report said today.

UK companies paid out £56.9 billion in dividends in 2009 — 15% less than in 2008 — with investors in the banking sector the worst impacted as the financial crisis wrought havoc, according to Capita Registrars.

Bank shareholders alone saw their payouts cut by £6 billion.

Capita's Dividend Monitor also warned that dividends were unlikely to bounce back this year, forecasting at best 5% growth to £59.6 billion — spelling more bad news for pensions funds as well as private investors that rely on dividend payouts.

The report comes just a week after oil giants BP and Royal Dutch Shell, which together account for around 25% of all dividends paid by UK companies, froze dividends in dollar terms, meaning that payments in sterling would be reduced.

Capita found that a total of 202 listed firms cut their dividends in 2009, 74 of which made no payout at all.

Belfast Telegraph