Top companies deliver $26b in dividends

Business man on road heading toward a dollar sign conceptShareholders in Australia’s top 200 listed companies will receive more than $26 billion in dividends in the second half of 2017, which could deliver a boost to consumer spending.

Ninety-one per cent of companies in the ASX200 index that recently reported their full year earnings will pay a dividend, and 83 per cent of those companies are paying the same amount as last year or more, according to CommSec.

CommSec chief economist Craig James says dividend payouts totalled around $24 billion a year ago, so shareholders continue to be well rewarded.

The majority of this year’s dividends, about $20 billion, will be paid out within a four week period beginning on September 18.

“While dividends flow at this time every year, the dollars could potentially lift spending,” James said.

Commonwealth Bank will deliver the largest shareholder payout, estimated at $3.9 billion, on September 29.

Telstra will pay out more than $1.8 billion one day earlier, BHP Billiton will deliver more than $1.7 billion on September 26, and Coles and Bunnings owner Wesfarmers will give its shareholders almost $1.4 billion on September 28.

James said dividends remain in vogue among the major corporations, though some are adjusting their payout ratios and putting more money back into their business, most notably Telstra and Westfield.

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