Local dividend yields top world bourses

The amount of dividends paid out by companies listed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange in 2005 was higher than many of the major world bourses, the TASE said this week. The average dividend yield from TASE companies was 3.4%, compared with 1.1% in Tokyo, 3.1% in London, 1.4% in the US and 2.9% in Hong Kong. This translates into a payout of NIS 14.6 billion, an increase of 23% over the previous year's figure. Alongside the monetary increase, the breadth of companies that paid a dividend also increased sharply with 211 companies paying out against 178 in 2004. Twenty nine companies paid dividends totaling NIS 100 million or more, which is 11 more companies than in 2004 - with the insurance sector seeing the most dividends paid of any sector. The banking sector was near the top of the dividend charts, too. Bank Hapoalim declared five dividend payments during 2005, which combined were worth around NIS 2 billion, while Leumi paid out NIS 1 billion over the year.