Dividends boom despite recession and job cuts

Dividends boom despite recession and job cuts
Photo: DPA
Despite the recession, falling profits and job layoffs, Germany’s biggest firms are set to pay out about €20 billion this year to their shareholders, a survey has found.

The survey of the 30 major companies making up the DAX index, published on Monday by news magazine Der Spiegel, found that the value of dividends have dropped only 12 percent despite a considerably greater plunge in profits.

Deutsche Telekom tops the list of dividend payouts, set to delight its shareholders with €3.4 billion, even though its 2009 profits had plunged to just €353 million, compared with €1.48 billion in 2008. Deutsche Telekom also axed about 4,000 jobs last year – or 3.2 percent of its workforce.

More dramatic still was the steel giant ThyssenKrupp, which reported a loss of €1.8 billion last year and cut 5 percent of its workforce. The firm nevertheless has paid out dividends worth €139 million.

Similarly, heavy vehicle manufacturer MAN lost €258 million and cut 7 percent of its workforce but nevertheless paid out €297 million in dividends.

Car maker Daimler, by contrast, cancelled dividends altogether after losing €2.6 billion and sacking 3 percent of its workers.

Of the 22 DAX companies that cut jobs in the past year, only nine reduced their dividends or paid out none at all, the survey found. And while more than half the firms reported reduced profits or outright losses, only 12 reduced their dividends.

Thirteen companies paid out the same or higher dividends despite cutting jobs. One of these was Deutsche Bank, which cut 2 percent of its workforce but nevertheless paid out 50 percent higher dividends than the previous year.

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