PARIS: Dividends paid by companies across the world to shareholders hit a new record in the first quarter, driven by the oil and mining sectors as well as the post-Covid upturn, according to a study.

The amount that shareholders received jumped by 11% to US$302.5 billion (RM1.3 trillion) in the first three months of the year, the report by Janus Henderson Investors said.

That was a record for the period, which is traditionally “quieter”, it said.

“Every region enjoyed double-digit growth, with the US, Canada and Denmark setting all-time quarterly records,” the study said.

“However, there was notable weakness in parts of Asia, such as Hong Kong, where lockdowns continue to plague the economy.

“Every sector, meanwhile, posted year-on-year increases,” it added.

Dividend payments saw significant cuts in 2020 and the first part of 2021 due to the impact of the health pandemic.

The study showed that global payouts have more than doubled since 2009, when the study began gauging dividends paid by the 1,200 companies with the largest market capitalisations.

Despite global concerns about soaring inflation and the war in Ukraine, 94% of multinationals increased or maintained their dividends, the study said.

Europe’s figures included a near eightfold increase in the annual dividend paid by Danish shipping giant Moller-Maersk, “which is benefiting from the disruption in global supply chains”, the study said.

While all sectors saw increases, oil companies – whose dividends jumped by a third in the first quarter – and mining firms led the way. – AFP