First quarter dividends raised, restarted or held at half of UK firms, says Link Group.
Half of UK companies increased, restarted or held their shareholder payouts steady between January and March, compared with just a third in the final three months of 2020, signalling the beginnings of corporate recovery from the shock caused by Covid-19.
Dividends paid to investors fell by almost 27% to £12.7bn, excluding one-off specials, in the first quarter, compared with a year earlier, according to the financial data firm Link Group, marking the slowest rate of decline since the start of the pandemic.
Shareholder payouts collapsed by almost 50% between April and June 2020 as UK companies felt the effects of the pandemic and moved to preserve cash. Link Group does not expect dividends to return to 2019 levels until 2025.
However, investor payouts have declined at a slower rate during each successive quarter, according to Link Group’s UK dividend monitor, since the first wave of coronavirus hit the UK last spring.