Global company dividends hit record $1.47 trillion

Global company dividends rose 16.8% on a headline basis to a record $1.47 trillion in 2021, with mainland European dividends rebounding 36.1% to $229.3 billion, according to the latest Janus Henderson Global Dividend Index (JHGDI) report.

Banks and miners delivered three-fifths of the $212 billion increase in dividends in 2021.

The US companies in the index distributed a record $522.7 billion of dividends, up 5.9% on an underlying basis, equivalent to a headline rise of 3.5%.

“Records were broken in a number of countries, including the US, China and Sweden though growth was fastest in those parts of the world that had seen the biggest declines in 2020, especially Europe, the UK and Australia,” said the report.

“Headline growth was 16.8%, boosted by record one-off special dividends …

“European dividends rebounded very strongly in 2021, jumping by over a quarter on an underlying basis.

“The headline figure rose even more quickly, boosted by higher special dividends and stronger European exchange rates.

“The restoration of banking dividends was by far the most important factor, accounting for two-thirds of the growth year-on-year, but a similar trend among insurance companies, utilities, and consumer discretionary companies also played a significant role.

“Oil dividends were still lower year-on-year, however.

“Eight out of ten European companies increased payouts or held them steady compared to 2020, slightly fewer than the global average …

“Swedish dividends almost quadrupled on an underlying basis as companies from other sectors, such as H&M and Volvo, joined the banks in restarting payouts.

“French companies account for just under a quarter of Europe’s total in 2021.

“Payouts jumped by 42.0% on an underlying basis, after halving in 2020, making them among the worst hit in the world.

“Just under half the recovery in France came from its banks and one fifth from utilities while elsewhere, Axa and LVMH made a very large contribution as they normalised their payouts. Eight in ten French companies (83%) increased payouts or held them steady.”

UK dividends rose 44.3% to $94.2 billion on a headline basis in 2021, an increase of $28.9 billion.

Janus Henderson expects global dividends to reach a new record of $1.52 trillion in 2022, a headline increase of 3.1%.