Nearly 70 per cent of listed companies suffered losses in the first quarter of this year, yet listed companies as a whole have managed to pay dividends in the first half of the year totalling a combined 23 trillion dong (over $1 billion), according to a report in the publication Dau tu Chung khoan (Securities Investment).
This number is even higher than the total value of shares offered for public sale in the first six months, which was just nearly 5.47 trillion dong ($260.5 million), the report stated.
A number of firms have even paid dividends up to three times on profits posted in fiscal 2011, amounting to up to 40-50 per cent of their charter capital. These companies included Tay Ninh Rubber Co (TRC), healthcare equipment maker MEINFA Co (MEF), gas trading company CNG Vietnam Co (CNG) and Yen Bai Forest Agricultural and Foodstuffs Co (CAP).
Commercial banks were also among the most generous in paying dividends. Vietcombank (VCB) paid a rate of 12 per cent, worth over 2.78 trillion dong ($132.4 million); Eximbank (EIB) spent over 2.38 trillion dong ($113.5 million) to fund a 19.3-per-cent rate; and Asia Commercial Bank (ACB) paid 20 per cent, worth over 1.87 trillion dong ($89.3 million).
Many blue chips, such as PetroVietnam Gas (GAS), dairy producer Vinamilk (VNM), Phu My Fertiliser (DPM) and insurer Bao Viet Holdings (BVH), also paid healthy dividends totalling 800 billion dong ($38 million) to over 2 trillion dong ($95 million).
At the other end of spectrum, real estate, coffee and seafood firms were experiencing hard times, and those that managed any dividends at all paid them in shares and not in cash. Others delayed planned payments, with up to 20 companies postponing their dividend payouts due to the lack of funds on hand.
According to analysts, efforts by listed companies to pay dividends in this difficult economic climate should be hailed as it helps improve investor confidence in the stock market. However, companies are advised not to try to raise money to pay cash dividends on the other as it puts them at risk of default.