31 Aug 2015

Dividends rising though companies' earnings mixed

7:52 am on 31 August 2015

The earnings season has been marked by firms paying higher dividends to their investors.

no caption

Photo: 123rf

Brokerage house First NZ Capital said a third of the 31 firms reported double-digit growth in gross earnings, including Air New Zealand, Ebos and Metlifecare.

About a quarter experienced earnings falling by more than 3 percent, among them Contact Energy, Chorus and Michael Hill International.

First NZ Capital head of economics and strategy Chris Green said more than two-thirds of firms lifted their dividend.

"We think that relates to the fact that companies have reasonably strong balance sheets at this point," said Mr Green.

"Our sense is also that there's a reasonably strong reluctance of firms to disappoint investors with a cut in their dividend payments."

Analysts appear bullish about the coming June financial year, with the median earnings per share growth forecast to rise from about the 9 percent level back in January to about 11 percent, before easing back in the following year.

Chris Green said a number of companies did highlight a weaker dairy sector, a softer market in Australia, as well as signs of a slowing New Zealand economy.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs