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Germany

German blue-chip companies pay record dividends

Companies listed in Germany's benchmark DAX index have announced they'll pay out a record sum in dividends to shareholders this year. But not all of the 30 firms in question are free-handed.

Germany's DAX-listed stock market heavyweights were planning to pay out a total of 27.6 billion euros ($35.65 billion) in dividends to their shareholders, a study by the auditing and consulting company Ernst & Young showed on Friday.

The figure marked a new record, surpassing the 27.3 billion euros granted on aggregate in 2008. "The DAX companies continue to be in good shape despite the crisis in many parts of Europe," Ernst & Young partner Thomas Harms said in a statement.

A closer look at the data revealed a rather heterogeneous picture, showing Deutsche Telekom shareholders as the biggest winners, with the German telecommunications giant willing to spend some 3 billion euros in terms of dividends, following its performance last year.

Not all play along

Engineering conglomerate Siemens, chemicals producer BASF and car and truck maker Daimler also spend more than 2 billion euros each and look set to make shareholders happy.

Tire maker Continental logged the biggest increase percentage-wise, hiking its dividend by half, while clothing giant Adidas reported a 35-percent rise in dividends for 2012.

Six DAX-listed firms leave their dividends unchanged, while seven pay less than in the previous year, Ernst & Young reported. Commerzbank, Lufthansa as well as ThyssenKrupp will even leave shareholders empty-handed.

Thomas Harms said he didn't expect companies to pay even higher dividends next year. "In the face of the simmering eurozone debt crisis, a generous dividend policy is not without risks," he said. "Money that the firms give to shareholders will probably more urgently be needed to react flexibly to volatile markets."

hg/hc (dpa, Reuters)

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