Shareholders of companies in the DAX family can hope for a record payout this year. At an estimated 62.5 billion euros, the distribution volume of the 160 companies exceeds the previous year’s value by 1.6 percent, as shown by calculations by the German Association for the Protection of Securities Holdings (DSW) in cooperation with the Institute for Strategic Finance at the FOM University. “This is the third dividend record in a row,” said study author Christian Röhl on Monday.

“The new record does not allow any valid conclusions to be drawn about the overall situation of the German economy, but is primarily the result of the strength of the globally positioned DAX companies,” said Röhl.

Shareholders of companies in the top German stock market league benefit particularly greatly from the windfall. At 53.8 billion euros, the dividend total for the 40 DAX companies is larger than ever since the first analysis in 2012, as the consulting firm EY has calculated. That is 2.4 percent more than last year. 24 corporations are paying a higher dividend this year than last year, but in five companies the shareholders are left empty-handed.

DAX companies earned less overall

The dividend total rose, even though the DAX companies overall earned less last year. According to EY, the consolidated results fell by six percent to 120.9 billion euros. However, the payout ratio – i.e. the share of dividend payments in total profits – “at 44.5 percent is still below the 5-year average of 47.6 percent and therefore at a solid and justifiable level,” explained EY partner Mathieu Meyer .

According to EY calculations, the largest payer this year is the car manufacturer Mercedes-Benz (5.5 billion euros) – despite a slight decline in the payout amount of 0.7 percent, closely followed by the Munich insurance group Allianz with an increase of 18 percent to 5, 4 billion euros. Volkswagen takes third place with 4.5 billion euros. The car manufacturer increased the payout amount by three percent. The shareholders of Porsche AG can look forward to a particularly significant increase: According to EY, the car manufacturer is increasing its payout by 129 percent to 2.1 billion euros.

Poorer economic prospects leave it unclear how long the dividend boom will last, said Meyer. “The economic situation is bleak; both the economic and political risks are increasing rather than decreasing.” In view of falling quarterly profits, more and more DAX companies announced tough austerity programs. “If the pressure on profits continues this year, dividend distributions will probably also be put to the test,” predicted Meyer.

Less than half of the MDax and SDax companies pay more

For shareholders of smaller and medium-sized corporations, the windfall this year will be somewhat lower overall. According to the DSW, the 50 companies in the MDax are paying out an estimated total of 5.734 billion euros to shareholders – a decrease of 13.4 percent compared to the previous year. With an increase of 48.8 percent, the total payout of the SDax companies increases to an estimated 3.841 billion euros, but it is attributable to 70 companies. Not even half of the companies listed in the MDax and SDax increased their dividends, explained Röhl. The dividends for the past financial year are paid after the general meeting.