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Emirates NBD tops Gulf dividend yield rankings 

Taking off: Emirates NBD ranked above all other businesses that have declared their 2023 dividends Reuters
Taking off: Emirates NBD ranked above all other businesses that have declared their 2023 dividends
  • Emirates NBD heads dividend list
  • Banks report early
  • Aramco top Saudi company

Emirates NBD, Dubai’s largest bank, has so far topped the Gulf list of dividend yield pay-outs awarded to shareholders in 2023, Refinitiv data shows.

The government-controlled lender, whose shares are up 27 percent in the past 12 months, provides a dividend yield of 6.9 percent based on its closing stock price of February 8.

The bank will pay an indicated annualised gross dividend – an estimate of future payouts based on past dividends – of $0.33 per share, according to Refinitiv.

Domestic rival First Abu Dhabi Bank gives a yield of 5.2 percent and a gross annualised dividend of $0.19. 

The third-ranked Gulf company in terms of dividend yield is also from the United Arab Emirates: Dubai Electricity and Water (Dewa), at 5.0 percent.

By the same metric, Saudi Aramco – the world’s third-largest listed company by market cap – is Saudi Arabia’s top payer, providing a dividend yield of 4.9 percent.

Banks tend to report quarterly earnings earlier than companies in other sectors and comprise eight of the 20 Gulf companies to announce 2023 dividends so far, Refinitiv data shows.

Saudi Arabia’s Al Rajhi Bank, the kingdom’s largest bank by market value, is notable for its low yield of 2.0 percent, which is substantially below Saudi National Bank’s (SNB) at 3.2 percent. Bourse data shows Al Rajhi trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 20.9, while state-controlled SNB’s is 12.5.

Telecoms and utilities are considered defensive sectors, providing steady earnings largely irrespective of a country’s economic cycle and, as such, tend to pay consistent dividends each year.

Among regional telecoms operators, the UAE’s e& – formerly known as Etisalat – offers a yield of 4.3 percent, eclipsing Saudi Telecom Co (STC) with 3.8 percent.

In terms of indicated annualised gross dividend, Dr Sulaiman Al Habib Medical Services Group is the top payer at $1.25 per share, followed by Saudi Basic Industries Corp’s (Sabic) $0.85.

Sabic’s high dividend in absolute terms comes despite the kingdom’s petrochemicals industry suffering a disappointing 2023, in which many producers reported losses as margins plunged to two-decade lows.

Al Rajhi, despite offering a low dividend yield, is ranked third in terms of gross annualised dividend at $0.61. Saudi Aramco ($0.49) and STC ($0.43) complete the top five.

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