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Today's Markets: James Fisher tanks, energy demand boosts dividend payouts

Catch up with today's top business headlines
Today's Markets: James Fisher tanks, energy demand boosts dividend payouts
  • Mining companies lead the recovery in UK dividends 
  • Coking coal drives Anglo Pacific's portfolio contribution 
  • James Fisher tanks

Mining companies lead leap in UK dividends

British companies have leapt back almost to their pre-pandemic dividend level. According to the UK Dividend Monitor published by Link Group, UK dividends soared 89 per cent to £34.9bn in the third quarter of 2021. For the full year, Link Group now expects headline dividends of £93.2bn, compared to £65bn in 2020 but still down from the £110bn paid out in 2019. But special payouts are still contributing a large proportion of that figure - in the third quarter companies paid £7.2bn of one-off dividends, with underlying, regular dividends at £27.7bn. 

The mining sector made the biggest contribution to the 52 per cent increase in underlying dividends, with many of the big companies resuming their payouts after a surge in demand in 2021. For the full year, miners are expected to be responsible for nearly £1 in every £4 distributed by UK-listed companies.

Coking coal drives Anglo Pacific’s portfolio contribution 

A year ago, you wouldn’t necessarily have expected mining entities to be crowing about coal prices, but that’s exactly where Anglo Pacific (APG) finds itself at the moment, at least in terms of spot prices for coking coal. Higher than anticipated prices at the Kestrel site during the third quarter have resulted in revenue of $11.7m (£8.5m) – and signs are that this has continued into the fourth quarter. Anglo also notes a portfolio contribution of $23.6m in Q3 2021, up 180 per cent on the prior year, and “the highest individual quarter in the company's history”. MR.

James Fisher tanks on bad debt provisions

Shares in James Fisher and Sons (FSJ) lost nearly a third of their market value on early trading, after the marine services group announced an increase in bad debt provisions, together with a negative assessment of trading prospects at its troubled Tankships division, and news of further project delays. A cost review is underway and the group is looking to “fix or exit” non-core and underperforming businesses, though you are left wondering why management has not been more proactive on this front prior to the bad news. The Board now anticipates underlying operating profit for the full year, before separately disclosed items, to be in the range of £27m - £32m. MR