Payouts to shareholders by UK companies have soared 18 per cent in the last three months to a record quarterly high of £22.6bn.
The boom has encouraged Capita Registrars, which monitors UK dividends, to raise its forecast for the year by £2bn to an annual cash record of £78.3bn. That would top by 15.1 per cent 2011's record year when payouts from UK companies climbed to £67.8bn. It would also be higher than the pre-crisis peak of 2008 when the equivalent of £77bn was paid out.
The most recent figures have been boosted by a number of one-off special payouts, but there has been marked underlying growth too, according to Charles Cryer, chief executive of Capita.
Some 250 companies paid a dividend in the period, up from 247 in the same quarter last year.