Companies around the world are paying out record sums to investors

As of: May 23, 2024 1:59 p.m

Listed companies have recently paid record dividends to their investors. The online giants Alibaba and Meta had a major influence on this, paying out money to their investors for the first time ever.

Companies around the world paid their investors higher dividends than ever before in the first quarter of this year. As the investment company Janus Henderson announced today, the 1,200 largest listed companies paid their shareholders a record sum of 339.2 billion dollars (just under 313 billion euros) between January and March.

Compared to the same quarter last year, dividends rose by 2.4 percent. “Investors had a good start to 2024 with rising share prices and dividend growth maintaining the momentum seen at the end of the year,” explained Ben Lofthouse and Jane Shoemake of fund house Janus Henderson.

Transport sector is the outlier

According to Janus Henderson, the banking sector in particular contributed a large part to the increase. The parent company of Facebook and Instagram, Meta, and the Chinese technology group Alibaba also paid out parts of their profits to investors for the first time ever. Alibaba’s $2.6 billion and Meta’s $1.1 billion were said to account for half of the increase in the first quarter.

The transport sector, however, stood out as an outlier: less was paid out there than in the previous year. This is due to major dividend cuts at the Danish logistics company Maersk.

Weaker quarter in Europe

More than half of the dividends ($180 billion) went to the USA, setting a quarterly record. In Europe, on the other hand, payouts fell significantly – although the first quarter is traditionally a weaker one in Europe, as many companies pay out their dividends for the entire year in the second quarter.

Last year, the largest German listed companies paid their investors a record amount. As the consulting firm EY announced in mid-April, the 40 DAX companies paid out 2.4 percent more dividends than in the previous year, which amounted to a total of 53.8 billion euros.

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