Fifty companies, including financial institutions that have held their Annual General Meetings (AGM) for the 2018 financial year, have so far declared a total of N578.114 billion dividends for payment to shareholders.
Dangote Cement Plc paid the highest dividend of N16 per share, which translated to N272.640 billion.
The Breakdown: Guaranty Trust Bank Plc paid N80.84 billion dividend, Zenith Bank Plc paid a total of N78.491 billion dividend, Nestlé Nigeria Plc paid N30.517 billion, Access Bank Plc paid N17.772 billion, and Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc paid N15.361 billion.
Nigerian Breweries Plc, Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc, FBN Holdings, Cement Company of Northern Nigeria Plc, Total Nigeria Plc, Fidelity Bank Plc, 11 Plc, and Okomu Oil Palm Plc paid N14.634 billion, N13.212 billion, N10.641, N9.333 billion, N5.257 billion, N4.753 billion, N3.187 billion, N2.975 billion and N2.862 billion, respectively.
FCMB Group Plc paid N2.773 billion, Nascon Allied Industries Plc paid N2.650 billion, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc paid N2.640 billion, Custodian Investment Plc paid N2.059 billion, CAP Plc paid N2.031 billion, United Capital Plc paid N1.8 billion, and Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc paid N1.219 billion.
More Details: Wema Bank Plc, Transcorp Hotels Plc, and Africa Prudential Plc paid N1.157 billion, N1.140 billion and N1 billion, respectively.
Other companies paid dividends in nine digits, while one company― The Initiates Plc ― paid in six digits (N444,990).
Why this matters: This is a positive development for the shareholders of these companies because the whole essence of investing in a company is to receive dividends as at when due.
Understanding Dividend: A dividend is a payment made by a company to its shareholders, usually as a distribution of profits. When a company earns a profit or surplus, it reinvests a portion of the profit in the business (retained earnings) whilst paying a portion as dividends to the shareholders.
Distribution to shareholders may be in cash (usually a deposit into a bank account) or the issuance of further shares, otherwise known as shares repurchase. But this is usually if the company has a dividend reinvestment plan.
In other words, a dividend is allocated as a fixed amount per share with shareholders receiving a dividend in proportion to their shareholding. For the joint-stock company, paying dividends is not an expense; rather, it is the division of after-tax profits among shareholders.