A recent survey of 722 portfolio managers and analysts across Europe by IR Magazine shows how highly-ranked companies in the IR Magazine Euro Top 100 are increasing their dividend payments as investors seek income over growth. IR Magazine ranks the top 100 listed companies across Europe based on the feedback from professional fund managers and analysts.
Key findings from the survey, published in the new IR Magazine Investor Perception Study, Europe 2012, show:
- Nine of the 10 top companies in IR Magazine Euro Top 100 increased dividends
- 87.5% of UK companies increased dividends
- 64.7% of German companies increased dividends
- 55.55% of French companies increased dividends
- 71.43% of Dutch companies increased dividends
The investors surveyed said the findings reflect a shift in emphasis from growth, towards safety, sensitivity, market capitalisation and the balance sheet. Companies that pay out larger dividends are perceived to be strong and balanced enough to deal with this turbulent market.
The study also showed that European companies have adopted radically different approaches towards tackling the problems in the eurozone. Some German companies have held extensive meetings with investors on the topic of the eurozone crisis, while other companies have preferred to focus on company fundamentals.
Portfolio managers interviewed in the survey also highlighted the demand for cash-flow generative companies and the sectors they feel are growing and can sustain significant returns. Portfolio managers also said that IROs (investor relations officers) who were able to demonstrate that the interests of management were aligned with shareholders were more likely to gain investor backing: increasing dividends is a clear case of interests being aligned, they said.
In the Investor Perception Study, investors ranked the companies according to the quality and professionalism of their IR programmes. The top 10 companies in the IR Magazine Euro Top 100 2012 are:
- Allianz (Germany)
- BASF (Germany)
- Unilever (UK)
- Novo Nordisk (Denmark)
- Kingfisher (UK)
- Nestle (Switzerland)
- Danone (France)
- Novartis (Switzerland)
- Lanxess (Germany)
- EDP – Energias de Portugal (Portugal)