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UK dividends at highest for three years

Payouts by UK companies to shareholders have reached their highest level for three years, according to the latest Dividend Monitor from Capita Registrars.

Dividends climbed to £19.1bn in the second quarter, up 27 per cent over the year. It was the largest cash payout by UK listed firms since the second quarter of 2008.

Charles Cryer, chief executive of Capita Registrars, said: "Shareholders have reason to cheer. Dividends are finally flowing freely again."

He added that dramatic dividend increases by the miners – whose profits have been helped by rising commodity prices – were the main reason for the increase.

The mining sector increased payouts almost fourfold, from just £491m in the second quarter of 2010 to £1.85bn this year. Key moments were a £540m special dividend from Antofagasta, and the payment of the first Anglo American final dividend – of £360m – in four years.