FINANCE NEWS: Portfolios feel cuts in major company dividend payouts

Dividends paid by quoted companies are stagnating or even falling, warns fund management company Chiswell.

The overall dividend paid by major companies from their 2001 profits is roughly the same as last year - one of only seven years since 1945 that the amount has not gone up.

A number of major companies have also cut their dividends.

Marconi and BA have both cut their payouts by 100 per cent; ICI and EMI by around 50 per cent.

"These shares will be held in many charity portfolios, in part for the very reason that they offered an attractive yield,

said Chiswell's managing director Robert Brown.

He said that dividend cuts illustrated the dangers of an emphasis on high-yield equities.

"There are no free lunches in investment. An above average dividend yield implies below-average dividend growth. An unusually high dividend yield denotes a high risk of a dividend cut,

he said.

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