Dividend Policy

The Board has adopted a progressive dividend policy which is aligned to free cash generation of the business. The free cash generation for the purposes of assessing the dividend is the net cash flow generated by the Group before the repayment of debt, dividend payments, other capital returns to shareholders and additional contributions made to the defined benefit pension schemes as a result of a substantial increase in dividends and/or capital returns to shareholders. When setting the level of dividends the Board will ensure that the Group maintains adequate headroom for investment and any unexpected cash flow requirements for historical events or to fund further restructuring. Based on the Board’s expectation of future cash flows the Board expects dividends to increase by at least 5% per annum.

The Company will also consider the return of capital to shareholders through a share buyback if it has generated surplus cash and sees an opportunity to enhance earnings per share and therefore shareholder value. Prior to initiating a share buyback programme the Company will carefully consider the cash generation of the business and the Group’s obligations to the Group’s defined benefit pension schemes. 

Dividend History

Year Record Date Ex-dividend date Payment date Dividend p/share
2017 08-Sept-17 07-Sept-17 29-Sept-17 2.25
2016 12-May-17 11-May-17 09-June-17 3.35
2016 04-Nov-16 03-Nov-16 25-Nov-16 2.1
2015 13-May-16 12-May-16 10-June-16 3.15
2015 02-Oct-15 01-Oct-15 30-Nov-15 2.0
2014 08-May-15 06-May-15 04-Jun-15 3.0
2008 03-Oct-08 01-Oct-08 31-Oct-08 3.2
2007 09-May-08 07-May-08 06-June-08 15.5
  05-Oct-07 03-Oct-07 30-Oct-07 6.4
2006 05-May-07 02-May-07 08-June-07 15.5
  06-Oct-06 04-Oct-06 31-Oct-06 6.4
2005 05-May-06 03-May-06 9-June-06 15.5
  07-Oct-05 05-Oct-05 01-Nov-05 6.4
2004 06-May-05 04-May-05 10-June-05 14.30
  08-Oct-04 06-Oct-04 01-Nov-04 5.90
2003 07-May-04 05-May-04 07-June-04 12.80
  03-Oct-03 01-Oct-03 31-Oct-03 5.30
2002 09-May-03 07-May-03 04-June-03 12.30
  04-Oct-02 02-Oct-02 31-Oct-02 5.30
2001 03-May-02 01-May-02 05-June-02 12.30
  05-Oct-01 03-Oct-01 31-Oct-01 5.50
2000 04-May-01 02-May-01 31-May-01 12.30
  29-Sep-00 25-Sep-00 27-Oct-00 5.30
1999 02-May-00 25-April-00 31-May-00 11.20
  20-Aug-99 16-Aug-99 29-Oct-99 4.80
1998 12-Mar-99 8-Mar-99 7-May-99 10.10
  02-Oct-98 28-Sep-98 30-Oct-98 4.40
1997 03-Apr-98 30-Mar-98 01-May-98 9.2
  03-Oct-97 29-Sep-97 31-Oct-97 4.0