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Web magazine, 09 February 2012 15:00

Companies pay higher dividends in 2011

Dutch companies quoted at the Amsterdam Stock Exchange paid out nearly 12 billion euro in dividends to their shareholders in 2011, an increase by 600 million euro relative to 2010. Nearly all dividends were paid out by non-financial companies. More than half was payable as optional dividend and for the first time, shareholders could opt for cash or shares.

Dividends paid out quoted companies

Dividends paid out quoted companies

Non-financial companies pay out 11.5 billion euro

Non-financial companies quoted at the Amsterdam Stock Exchange paid out more than 11.5 billion euro in dividends to their shareholders last year. Non-financial companies are now almost back at the level prior to the economic crisis of 2009. In 2008, the non-financial sector paid out a record amount of 12 billion euro in dividends.

The financial sector paid only 200 million euro in dividends to their shareholders in 2011, as against a record-high more than 8.5 billion euro in 2007.

Type of dividend

Type of dividend

More companies allow their shareholders to choose

Shareholders were offered the choice in 2011 to get paid in shares. For the first time, companies paid out more than half of their dividends as optional dividend.

The concept of optional dividend allows companies to keep higher cash reserves. This is a relatively cheap way for companies to attract capital for investments and to strengthen their balance sheets. The ongoing lack of confidence in the financial world has made it more difficult for the private sector to attract capital. Eventually, more than half of shareholders preferred to get paid in shares and 4 billion euro remained in the company coffers.

Jos van Heiningen

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