Spanish listed companies paid their shareholders 20,474 million euros in dividends in 2021, which represents an increase of 9.44% compared to 18,709 million in 2020.
According to data from the Spanish Stock Exchanges and Markets (BME), shareholder remuneration in 2021 was still 35.42% below the 31,706 million euros distributed in 2019, the last pre-pandemic year.
The payment of dividends is one of the attractions for foreign investors. As BME recently highlighted on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Ibex 35, the distribution of dividends is a particularly important factor for the Spanish market, with shareholder remuneration being a hallmark that differentiates it from other surrounding markets.
With the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020, Spanish companies experienced a reduction in their profits, which in turn had an impact on the amount to be distributed among their shareholders. In addition, the European Central Bank (ECB) recommended that banking entities not pay dividends and the entities followed this guideline from the second quarter of the year to strengthen their capital ratios.
All this resulted in the volume of dividends distributed by the Spanish listed companies sinking 41% in 2020, to 18,709 million euros. That year, dividend payments in the form of shares (‘scrip dividend’ or election dividend) grew by 69.5%, to 6,644 million euros.
During 2021, the ECB allowed banks to pay a 15% ‘pay out’ and, in September, lifted the limitation, which, together with the improvement in business results, would have contributed to the increase in dividend payments. last year, although not enough to reach the levels of 2019.
The coronavirus crisis has also had an impact on the combined market value of Spanish listed companies, especially those in the banking sector.
At the end of 2021, the capitalization of the Spanish Stock Market amounted to 1.08 trillion euros, 14.11% above 2020, but still 2.14% below that of 2019.
The total number of listed companies stood at 2,585 companies in December 2021 (153 on the Stock Exchange and 2,432 on BME Growth), 153 less than in 2020, mainly due to the drop in the sicav segment.