The number of FTSE 100 dividends that have been cancelled or cut amid the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic has now reached around £26.5bn, although the status of another £25bn in blue-chip payouts is still to be decided as 2020 reaches its halfway mark.
According to data compiled by broker Peel Hunt, the £26.5bn figure for the cancelled and cut divis is around 42% of the total scheduled for the 2020 calendar year, with the £10.9bn figure already paid amounting to just over 17%.
It is an even worse picture in the mid-cap FTSE 250, where around 56% of 2020’s scheduled dividends have been cut or cancelled, while as of June 12 only 5.5%, or £0.46bn, have been paid out to investors.
Lower down in the small caps, companies have axed or taken the scissors to £350mln in dividends, equivalent to 53% of the £666mln total, while only £16mln has been paid out so far this year.
The picture is slightly better among the AIM 100, where only 29% of planned dividends have been cut or cancelled while £67mln, or 14.5% of the total, have been paid.
Pharma firms, tobacco and supermarkets among likely payers
The broker highlighted around 38 FTSE 100 companies that they thought were the most likely to payout dividend before the year ends.
These firms included oil giant BP PLC (LON:BP.), which on Monday announced that it will make write-offs of between US$13bn to US$17.5bn due to what it said was the “enduring impact” of the coronavirus pandemic on the global economy, leading some analysts to mull the possibility of a cut.
READ: BP set for massive write offs as coronavirus aftermath predicted to accelerate global low-carbon transition
Other likely payers among the blue-chips were pharma giants AstraZeneca PLC (LON:AZN) and GlaxoSmithKline PLC (LON:GSK), mobile operator Vodafone Group PLC (LON:VOD), cigarette maker British American Tobacco PLC (LON:BATS) and supermarkets J Sainsbury PLC (LON:SBRY) and WM Morrison Supermarkets PLC (LON:MRW).
Among the FTSE 250 firms making the cut were retailer Pets at Home Group PLC (LON:PETS), gold miner Centamin PLC (LON:CEY), ingredients firm Tate & Lyle PLC (LON:TATE) and antivirus software group Avast PLC (LON:AVST).
Big cutters include travel, insurance, financials
In terms of sectors, those with the largest amount of payouts due also seemed to be the ones with the deepest cuts.
Insurance firms, the sector with the largest amount of dividends due in Peel Hunts coverage at around £9.94bn, have cancelled £8.25bn of these, while the second highest-paying sector, financials, has cancelled £7.9bn of its planned total of £9.27bn.
However, some of the sharpest reductions came from the travel sector, which has been particularly hard hit by the pandemic and as a result has seen £2.11bn, around 84%, of its planned dividends cancelled.
Meanwhile, retailers were one sector to have retained most of their payouts despite the disruption, having only cancelled £428mln of its planned £7.5bn total.
The traditionally defensive utilities sector and other miscellaneous firms have also held up relatively well, cancelling just £217mln of their planned £5.91bn total so far.
Looking ahead, while Peel Hunt said the pace of cuts and cancellations had “slowed materially”, this was mainly due to quieter reporting schedule and that the market focus would turn back to dividends into the late summer reporting season.