2019 is shaping up to be a particularly good year for investors on the Athens bourse, especially for those that took a position at the start of the year. It is not only the sharp increase in share prices that are cheering investors but also the fact that a significant number of listed companies are proving to be generous as in 2019 they have already distributed 2.2 billion euros via dividends and a return of capital.
As shown by bourse filings, 54 companies have distributed 2.18 billion euros from the start of the year, while more is coming based on announcements made at the general assemblies of several companies and the tactics adopted by Greece’s larger blue chips when it comes to interim dividends.
It is noteworthy that the capital handed back to shareholders is more than 50 percent higher than in 2018 when it reached 1.35 billion euros. Based on a report looking at the financials of 2018, analyst Manos Hatzidakis from Beta Securities had foreseen this development.
“There has already been an increase of more than 50 percent in comparison with the prior year and a part of this generosity is due to the significant return of capital from Coca Cola HBC and the reduction in tax on distributed dividends for 2018 from 15 percent to 10 percent. On the other hand, this growing trend of distributing earnings shows a change in strategy regarding the holding of high levels of cash reserves, reflecting optimism on the further improvement of economic data,” points out Hatzidakis.
Based on figures from the 54 companies, whose market capitalization tallies up to 40 billion euros, the distributed amounts translate into a dividend yield of more than 5 percent. So if we assume that at the start of 2019, an investor held stocks from these companies, the investor would see a return of investment of 5.34 percent in coming months. Gains that are even higher when taking into consideration that share prices were significantly lower in early 2019.
Leading the list is Coca Cola HBC with an amount of 958 million euros being distributed, up from 200 million euros in the previous year. Based on Friday’s closing prices, the company’s dividend yield is at 8.57 percent though this amount was distributed on July 4 when its share price was close to 35 euros.
Next on the list comes OTE telecom with an amount of 222 million euros (versus 172 million euros in 2017), OPAP with 193 million euros (60 million euros in 2017) Hellenic Petroleum 152 million euros (198 million euros in 2017) and Motor Oil with 105 million euros (183 million euros ).
These five companies were also the leaders in rewarding shareholders in 2017, in a trend that is likely to continue in this year.