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Value of dividends paid hits new high

THE value of dividends paid by UK stock market-listed companies hit a record £30.7 billion in the first quarter following a massive special payout by Vodafone.

But experts say payments may come under pressure given the strength of the pound.

Capita Asset Services calculated the total dividend payments made by firms on the main market of the London Stock Exchange in the three months to March was more than double the £14bn paid in the same period of 2013.

The quarter brought good news for many investors who hold shares for the income they generate.

The increase was driven by a £15.9bn payment by Vodafone, which Capita said was the largest in British history.

But Capita said total payments grew by only 3.3 per cent on an underlying basis, stripping out the effect of one-offs,

Noting the pound had risen against the dollar and euro over the past year it, it warned: "Dividends this year will be £3.5bn lower than they would have been if the average exchange rate had remained unchanged."

Capita said firms in sectors like oil and mining have been impacted by currency trends and weaker performance in their own businesses as the commodity cycle works against them.

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