Interactive Investor

FTSE 100 giants have £6bn dividend gift for investors this Christmas

At a time of year when we could all do with some extra cash in our pocket, this group of blue-chip companies are returning billions to shareholders over the festive period. 

30th November 2023 13:29

Graeme Evans from interactive investor

Dividends worth £6 billion will spread festive cheer to the owners of HSBC Holdings (LSE:HSBA), BP (LSE:BP.), Shell (LSE:SHEL), Unilever (LSE:ULVR) and seven other FTSE 100 companies during December.

For retail investors planning their Christmas spending or trading budgets in 2024, many of these payments will be significantly greater than last year.

Examples include Shell after chief executive Wael Sawan hiked the third quarter dividend by 32% on a year earlier to the equivalent of 26.11p a share. This amounts to a total of £1.7 billion and is due to land in accounts on 20 December.

A day earlier, BP shareholders will receive approximately 5.73p a share after the dividend declaration improved 21% on last year.

Others in line for a bigger Christmas bonus include Whitbread (LSE:WTB) investors after the Premier Inn owner pledged to pay 34.1p a share worth £65 million on 8 December.

This represents a jump of 40% in a sign of new boss Dominic Paul’s confidence in the company’s prospects following a 44% jump in half-year profits.

The same day sees Unilever make its latest dividend payment, having declared an unchanged amount in euros every quarter since unifying its corporate structure in November 2020.

For UK shareholders this converts to a pre-Christmas payment of 37.15p a share, whereas two years ago the exchange rate meant they got a smaller 35.98p from the Ben & Jenny’s and Hellmann’s firm.

With HSBC, the 10 US cents or 7.92p a share will be the first time since 2019 that shareholders have received anything from the company in the run-up to Christmas.

The bank, which will make the payment totalling £1.5 billion on 21 December, recently returned to the ranks of quarterly dividend payers as it targets a payout ratio of 50% of reported earnings per share for 2023 and 2024.

The last time it made a dividend payment for the third quarter was on 20 November 2019, when it also declared 10 US cents a share.

The highest yielding stock on December’s dividend calendar is Imperial Brands (LSE:IMB), having recently announced a 4% increase for the 2022/23 financial year to 146.82p a share.

Two interim dividends of 21.59p were paid in June and September, with the third of 51.82p due to be paid on 29 December before the final instalment on 28 March.

Imperial, which trades with an 8% yield, said a 10% increase in share buybacks meant shareholder returns in 2024 will be £2.4 billion or 15% of market value.

CompanyPayment dateCurrent dividend yield (%)
Whitbread (LSE:WTB) 08-Dec2.3
Unilever (LSE:ULVR) 08-Dec3.9
DCC (LSE:DCC)15-Dec3.4
Sainsbury (J) (LSE:SBRY)15-Dec4.7
Scottish Mortgage Ord (LSE:SMT)15-Dec0.6
Hargreaves Lansdown (LSE:HL.)15-Dec5.9
Pershing Square Holdings Ord GBP (LSE:PSH)15-Dec1.2
BP (LSE:BP.)19-Dec4.2
Shell (LSE:SHEL) 20-Dec3.3
HSBC Holdings (LSE:HSBA)21-Dec4.4
Imperial Brands (LSE:IMB)29-Dec8.0

Source: interactive investor, SharePad. Data and dollar exchange rates for Pershing Square, BP, Shell and HSBC shares correct as at 29 November 2023. 

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