Listed companies declared combined cash dividends worth P402 billion in 2021 despite the impact of the pandemic on corporate earnings, according to the Philippine Stock Exchange.
Data from the PSE showed the amount of cash dividends paid out by publicly-listed companies to common shareholders in 2021 rose 17.3 percent from P342.88 billion in cash dividends disbursed in 2020.
The dividend payouts in 2021 were based on 2020 earnings, the period when business operations were disrupted and the cash-flow of companies eroded because of the pandemic.
The PSE said despite the disruption, 28 of the 30 main index members were able to pay out dividends amounting to P157.58 billion, giving common shareholders a 1.72-percent dividend yield.
“The gradual reopening of the local economy allowed companies to generate better income, which resulted in bigger dividends for shareholders. We hope that earnings growth among PLCs continues to improve to ensure steady dividend income for stock market investors,” said PSE president and chief executive Ramon Monzon.
About 108 of 276 total listed firms gave out cash dividends last year, up from 105 of 271 in 2020.
“With around 40 percent of PLCs giving out dividends to their common shareholders, we deemed it necessary to showcase companies that provide high dividend income to investors by coming up with a dividend yield index. This thematic index will be one of the new indices that we will be introducing within the semester,” Monzon said.
The PSE said of the main six sectors in the PSE, financials declared the largest dividend payout at P187.55 billion.
Real estate investment trusts including AREIT Inc., DDMP REIT Inc., Filinvest REIT Corp., RL Commercial REIT Inc. and MREIT Inc. had an aggregate cash dividend payout of P5.77 billion, resulting in 2.16-percent dividend yield, even as three of the five REITs were only listed for an average of four months.
“REITs have become a preferred asset class among investors because of its dividend mandate. With more REITs expected to list this year, including non-property REITs, investors will have a wider selection of companies that can provide passive income,” Monzon said.