* Q3 dividends down q/q for first time since 2008
* Full year dividend payouts to miss 2012 record
* Vodafone will boost next year's total above 100 bln stg
LONDON, Oct 21 British companies posted lower
than expected dividend growth in the third quarter, with total
payouts for the year now set to be below 2012's record level, a
study showed on Monday.
However a one-off windfall from Vodafone's special
dividend, following the sale of its stake in Verizon Wireless to
Verizon, should see the 2014 total top 100 billion pounds
($161.48 billion) for the first time since Capita Asset Services
conducted its dividend monitor.
While the 25.3 billion pound payout in July to September
represented a 5.7 percent increase year on year, dividends
actually fell compared to the previous quarter for the first
time in five years.
"We have been warning for some time that dividend growth
would slow down. That slowdown has been greater than we expected
on an underlying basis, and reflects a very soft patch in
company profitability over the last year," Justin Cooper, CEO of
shareholder solutions, Capita Asset Services, said.
Dividends have become increasingly sought after as global
monetary easing has helped keep yields on bonds low, forcing
investors to look for other streams of dependable income.
Equities are still set to have a yield of 4.1 percent over
the next 12 months, ahead of all other major asset classes.
This attractive yield does not even take into account a
bumper dividend from Vodafone, which is set to boost prospects
for payouts to shareholders next year with an unprecedented 16.6
billion pound (gross) special dividend.
The payout boosts Capita Asset Services' forecast for 2014
to 101.8 billion pounds.
Even without the one-off dividend, improving profitability
means 2014's total is set to beat the current record of 80.6
billion pounds, set in 2012, which this year's dividends are set
to miss by 900 million pounds.