The first quarter of 2009 was one of the “most catastrophic in the history of dividends,” says a report from Markit, a financial information services company.
Around 12% of FTSE 100 companies did not pay out a dividend at all, while 11% reduced payments substantially.
Dividend points, which Markit says measure the impact of dividend payments on the index, were 33.4% lower than for the same period last year.
“The main drivers of the fall in Q1 2009 were the lack of cash dividends from banks such as Barclays, RBS and HBOS. However, even excluding these three companies, dividend points were 14.1% lower than in Q1 2008,” the report says.
Despite the falls in dividend levels, 18% of companies kept payments the same as last year’s level, while 59% increased payouts. However, last year 80% last year saw dividend rises.