Dividends: German companies are paying out more than ever – Economy

At the top of the list is Mercedes-Benz. The car manufacturer from Stuttgart, whose business with electric cars is not going well at the moment, is paying out around 5.5 billion euros to its shareholders as a dividend for the 2023 financial year. Allianz follows in second place with 5.4 billion euros, followed by Volkswagen, Deutsche Telekom, BMW and Siemens.

It’s an extremely good year for shareholders. For 2023, the 40 DAX companies alone will pay a total of 53.8 billion euros in dividends. This is more than ever since the first analysis in 2012, the consulting firm EY calculated. The dividend is always paid at the general meeting for the past financial year. 23 of the 40 DAX companies alone increased the payout amount for 2023. The distribution will therefore also increase by 2.4 percent compared to 2022 Even back then, shareholders were able to enjoy record dividends. The insurer Munich Re pays the highest dividend in absolute terms at 15 euros per share.

The development is surprising, as the profits of the DAX companies fell overall last year, by six percent to 120.9 billion euros. In addition, the economic situation is tense. In Germany, the gross domestic product is practically not growing this year. There are crises around the world, the wars in Ukraine and Israel are weighing on the global economy, and there are conflicts with China. Some countries are isolating themselves and world trade is in danger. None of this is good for the very export-oriented German economy. “The economic situation is bleak, and both the economic and political risks are increasing rather than decreasing,” says EY partner Mathieu Meyer.

Families in particular benefit from the sports car manufacturer Porsche

In view of falling quarterly profits, more and more DAX companies announced tough austerity programs, which often include job cuts. So if on the one hand the shareholders and investors are happy, it is bitter for employees. High dividends are always good for the share price, and savings programs are sometimes rewarded. “If the pressure on profits continues this year, dividend distributions will probably also be put to the test,” expects Meyer.

The three major German car manufacturers BMW, VW and Mercedes alone will pay out almost 31 billion euros to shareholders for 2023. All three are currently in a difficult situation: the market is currently fundamentally changing, away from combustion engines and towards electric vehicles. But German producers are currently having massive sales problems. Manufacturers from China or France currently have cheaper offers to serve the mass market. Incidentally, things are looking particularly bad at Mercedes, the DAX company that pays out the most to shareholders. It might also be better to invest the money in the future.

The shareholders of Porsche AG can also look forward to a particularly significant increase: According to EY, the Stuttgart sports car manufacturer is increasing its payout by a full 129 percent to 2.1 billion euros. The Porsche and Piëch families, who are major shareholders in Porsche, will primarily benefit from this.

But there are also DAX companies that cannot pay out anything given the difficult situation or prefer to keep their money together: These are Covestro, Fresenius, Qiagen, Siemens Energy and Zalando. The housing group Vonovia pays a dividend even though it is making very high losses, and Bayer also pays something to its shareholders after billions in losses.

All 160 companies in the DAX, MDax and SDax are paying out an estimated 62.5 billion euros. This was calculated by the German Association for the Protection of Securities Ownership (DSW) in cooperation with the Institute for Strategic Finance at the FOM University in Munich. “This is the third dividend record in a row,” says study author Christian Röhl. The record also results from the strength of the global business of the DAX companies. The payout ratio – i.e. the share of dividend payments in total profits – is currently on average 44.5 percent.

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