Non-financial Dutch companies pay out record amount in dividends

Dutch companies quoted on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange paid out nearly 17 billion euro in dividends to their shareholders last year, an increase by more than one third relative to 2011. The total dividend payout is almost back at the level prior to the economic crisis. Non-financial companies paid out a record amount exceeding 16 billion euro in dividends according to figures released by Statistics Netherlands.

Non-financial companies quoted at the Amsterdam Stock Exchange paid out a record amount of over 16 billion euro in dividends to their shareholders last year, an increase by one third relative to the previous record set in 2008. The 2012 figures are somewhat distorted due to the one-off dividend payout by ASML Holding to the amount of more than 3.6 billion euro over 2012, but even without taking this into account, the amount involved was still a record.

The financial sector paid out 600 million euro in dividends in 2012, i.e. three times as much as in 2011. Despite this substantial increase, the record amount of 8.5 billion euro dating back to 2007 is still far away. The current economic crisis exerts a significant negative effect on the financial sector.

Quoted companies repurchased shares worth 1.7 billion euro in 2012. Since the beginning of the financial and economic crisis late 2008, companies are more cautious and have scaled down their share repurchase programmes. The value of shares repurchased in 2007 and 2008 totalled 16 billion and 15 billion euro respectively. Companies repurchased shares mainly to get rid of excess cash. Repurchasing shares means that a company’s profits are distributed over fewer shares and earnings per share will be higher.

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