The annual dividend of Asia ex-Japan’s four major markets — Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea — was up 29.2% to $42.8bn from $33.1bn over the same period, according to a Janus Henderson report on company dividend payouts.
The report said the growth was boosted by special dividends issued by Hong Kong and Singapore-listed companies.
Excluding the special dividend and exchange rates, the region’s underlying growth was 13.5%, still outperforming the global averages.
Globally, the Janus Henderson Global Dividend Index shows that the listed company dividend payout globally grew 12.9% year-on-year in the second quarter (calculated in US dollars). Underlying growth, based on the company’s ability to raise dividends, grew 9.5%.
Hong Kong companies distributed 13.5% more while those in Singapore paid additional 46.9%, compared to the end of June 2017.
Looking at Q2 dividend growth year-on-year, Singapore’s DBS doubled its payout and paid an almost equally large specific dividend, thanks to higher profits and surplus capital. The banking group alone accounted for half the growth in dividends from the country.
In Hong Kong, Telecom operator China Mobile was a major contributor to growth, raising the payout by 25%. Utility company Power Assets, owned by conglomerate CK Hutchison, also issued a special dividend reward to shareholders.
These two companies made up two-third of the growth in payouts among Hong Kong-listed companies.
No Hong Kong-listed companies reported a reduction in dividends, the report said.
Additionally, Seoul-based Samsung Electronics was ranked the third biggest payer globally during the second quarter.
Meanwhile, China made the largest contribution to dividend growth in emerging markets. The large oil refiner Sinopec almost tripled its dividend, driven by improved refining margins and a better sales mix, according to the report.
The Janus Henderson Global Dividend Index started reporting in 2009. It analyses annual dividends paid by the 1,200 largest firms by market capitalisation.