Wed | Apr 1, 2020

Scotiabank pays highest divdend in history

Published:Wednesday | February 26, 2020 | 1:29 PM
Scotiabank Centre, headquarters of Scotiabank Group Jamaica, on the waterfront in Kingston.

Scotia Group Jamaica, SGJ, paid out $14.68 billion in dividends for 2019, which was greater than its annual profit.

The banking group affirmed that it was the highest dividend ever paid to shareholders since its founding in 1889. Scotia Group said the bank received positive feedback from its shareholders after the distribution.

SGJ, which operates the second-largest banking group behind NCB Financial Group, said the payout was made from accumulated profits.

“The group made the decision to distribute accumulated earnings built up over several years,” SGJ said in a response to Financial Gleaner queries.

The company paid a special dividend in addition to its normal quarterly dividends, totalling $4.76 per share over the full year, compared with $1.95 per share in 2018.

“After factoring in these dividends, our capital remains strong to take advantage of future growth opportunities,” SGJ said.

The banking group closed the year ending October 2019 with equity of $118.1 billion, up from $115.6 billion in the previous year. However, retained earnings declined from $63.7 billion to $59.2 billion, due to the dividend distribution.

During the year, investors would have gained more from dividends than from movement in the stock price. SGJ’s dividend yield rose to 8.6 per cent from 3.66 per cent in the prior year. At the same time the stock price moved to $55.48 from $52.56, a gain of 5.56 per cent, over the bank’s fiscal year.

steven.jackson@gleanerjm.com