Dividend cash sets record

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UK companies paid a record £22.6bn in dividends in the second quarter as many firms baulked at spending bumper cash piles on deal making or other forms of capital expenditure in the face of the global economic slowdown.

The quarter, which usually sees the biggest dividend payouts, was the sixth consecutive quarter of growth and took the half-year total to £41.4bn, a 21.3 per cent gain on 2011 and the fastest period of growth since 2007, Capita Registrars said in a report this week.

As a result, the firm updated its expected full-year total for UK firms by £2bn to £78.3bn.

Large special dividends by the likes of Old Mutual, GlaxoSmithKline and Antofagasta all boosted the quarterly total, although structural growth was also seen.

“Cash flow is still strong, yet corporate investment is very depressed,” Capita Registrars said.