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Never before have companies in the world paid so much dividends

Never before have companies in the world paid so much dividends

According to fund manager data, companies paid dividends worth $339.2 billion in the first quarter of this year, an increase of 2.4 percent from the previous year. A large portion of this amount, $301 billion, went to the 1,200 largest listed companies in the world.

Based on regions, companies paid the most dividends in North America, $180 billion, up 7.5 percent from last year. Dividends paid in emerging markets were $30 billion (+20.6%), in Europe (excluding the UK) $49.4 billion (-20.3%), in Japan $4.8 billion (-6.4%), and in the Asia-Pacific region (Except Japan). It amounted to $21.5 billion (+5.7%), and in the United Kingdom it amounted to $15.3 billion (+6.8%).

Most of the dividends, $164.3 billion, were paid by US companies, and this amount is also a record and was 7 percent higher than in the first quarter of last year. Among the US companies that paid the most dividends were Microsoft Corp., Apple Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Chevron Corp., Johnson & Johnson, and Verizon Communications. In addition, Costco Wholesale paid a special dividend totaling about $6.7 billion ($15 per share) in January, on top of its regular payments.

The two giant European pharmaceutical companies, Novartis and Roche, became the world's largest dividend payers in the January-March period, amounting to $8.6 billion and $7.6 billion, respectively. Costco Wholesale, Microsoft, BHP Group, Siemens AG, Exxon Mobil, Apple, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Novo Nordisk made the top 10 companies. Their total payments amounted to $52.1 billion, 15% of the global total.

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Chinese company Alibaba made its debut on Janus Henderson's list, whose profits of $2.6 billion were enough for 20th place.

According to Janus Henderson experts, the total dividends paid in the world this year will rise by 5 percent to reach a record level of $1,720 billion.

Cover image source: Shutterstock

This article does not constitute investment advice or an investment recommendation. Detailed legal information

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