Ahmad Aweidah, CEO of the Palestine Securities Exchange (PSE), announced towards the end of the period of general assemblies meetings of publicly listed that the amount of dividends distributed by public shareholding companies listed on the PSE was USD 120,823,804 million for the year 2010, which brings total distribution of cash and stock dividends to more than USD 630 million for the period 2006-2010. The average annual distribution of dividends was USD 126 million.
Aweidah indicated that the dividend distribution ratio ranged from 5% to 100% for the fiscal years 2005-2009, referring to the Palestine Investment Bank as an example, when it raised its capital in 2006 via a USD 20 million free stock distribution, in addition to a further USD 3 million cash dividend distribution at USD 0.15/ share.
Aweidah referred to a statistical report indicating that at least 6 companies continuously paid dividends in the last 5 years: Ahliya Insurance Group, Bank of Palestine, Birzeit Pharmaceutical, National Insurance Company, Jerusalem Pharmaceutical, and Palestine Telecommunications. While other companies distributed cash dividends 4 times in the last 5 years: Arab Islamic Bank, Jerusalem Cigarette Company, Palestine Electricity Company, and the Palestine Investment Bank .
Looking into dividends distribution value over the past five years, Palestine Telecommunications (PALTEL) ranked first with an average of USD 60 million per year followed by Palestine Development & Investment Company (PADICO) with an average of USD 24 million per year, then Bank of Palestine (BOP) with an average of USD 16 million per year during the same period.
The report indicated that out of the 39 public shareholding listed companies(as of 31/12/2009), 20 companies engaged in dividend distribution at least once in the last 5 years.
Aweidah reaffirmed that the return on investment in the PSE ranged between 5-7% during the last 5 years which is more than 7 times the return on bank deposits which was less than 1%. Aweidah indicated that dividend ratio to market CAP of listed companies averaged 28% during the past five years, not to mention the profit investors might have gained out of trading at the PSE.
Aweidah hoped that the financial performance of the listed companies for the first half of 2010 would be consistent with the economic growth the Palestinian Territories are witnessing, and correspond to investors' and shareholders' expectations and enhance their confidence.
It is worth noting that the report included data on cash dividends distributed for the last 5 years and the value of stocks distribution at their par value. Currencies were calculated according to the average exchange rate of the USD, NIS and JOD at the end of each year.