(Australian Associated Press)
Shareholder dividends in Australia rose nearly 15 per cent in 2015, outperforming global markets including the US and UK.
Australian dividend payouts grew by an underlying 14.8 per cent in the last calendar year, driven by the likes of Commonwealth Bank and Westpac.
That compared to 10.2 per cent in the US and a relatively miserly 3.7 per cent in the UK, according to a report by Henderson Global Investors analysing the world’s 1,200 largest firms by market capitalisation.
“The importance of dividends as a driver of total shareholder return was highlighted in 2015, where income almost entirely compensated investors for falling share prices,” Henderson head of global equity income Alex Crooke said.
“The recent stock market volatility underlines the continued value of income as a source of return.”
Henderson believes the banking industry is likely to see less growth in 2016 as increased capital requirements take their toll, but that the sector will still generate the “lion’s share” of Australian payouts.
The decline in the value of the Australian dollar meant dividends declined 7.6 per cent in US dollar terms to $US46.5 billion.
Henderson said global dividends reached $1.15 trillion in 2015 and is forecasting underlying growth of 3.3 per cent to $1.17 trillion in 2016.