The Directors of The Edinburgh Investment Trust plc (“the Company”) announce that they have declared a first interim dividend for the year ending 31 March 2021 of 6.00 pence per share (2020: 6.40p). They also announce that they intend to declare total dividends, comprising four ordinaries and a special, for the year ending 31 March 2021 of 28.65 pence per share (2020: 28.65p).
The first interim dividend will be paid on 27 November 2020 to shareholders on the register on 13 November 2020. The shares will be quoted ex-dividend on 12 November 2020. The Directors expect to declare two further interim dividends of 6.00 pence per share, a final dividend of 6.00 pence per share and a special dividend (paid at the same time as the final dividend) of 4.65 pence per share. These dividends will, as usual, be paid in November, February, May and July.
The Board of the Company recognises the importance of dividends to shareholders, especially in an uncertain environment and at a time when other sources of income are under pressure. The Company is in a strong position to support dividend distributions to shareholders by using the significant revenue reserves built up over many years. The Board believes that maintaining the total dividend per share at the 2019/20 level with revenue reserves for this financial year is the appropriate approach.
The Board also recognises the importance of sustainable dividends. Even before the current economic crisis, the overall yield on the UK market had become increasingly dependent on a small number of companies and sectors. The effect of the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, and ongoing structural changes to the economy, has been to further erode the income available from the UK equity market. While there remain elevated levels of uncertainty over the speed at which market earnings and dividends will recover, the Board has concluded that the previous level of Company dividends is unlikely to be sustainable. The Board has therefore resolved to re-set annual dividends to 24.00 pence per share, a level from which we believe they can grow progressively in future years.
Glen Suarez, Chairman of the Company, commented:
“The Board recognises the importance that investors place on a sustainable source of income. While we are keeping the dividend unchanged in total for the current financial year, we are also re-setting the dividend for future years to a level that is more sustainable and offers the potential for future dividend progression. Our investment strategy seeks both capital growth and income and our manager’s total return approach is well placed to navigate the current market environment.”
Dividend timetable for financial year to 31 March 2021
|Pence per share||Declaration date||Ex-dividend date||Record date||Payment date|
|First interim dividend||6.00||3 Nov 2020||12 Nov 2020||13 Nov 2020||27 Nov 2020|
|Second interim dividend||6.00||Jan 2021||Feb 2021||Feb 2021||Feb 2021|
|Third interim dividend||6.00||April 2021||May 2021||May 2021||May 2021|
|Final dividend||6.00||June 2021||July 2021||July 2021||July 2021|
|Special dividend||4.65||June 2021||July 2021||July 2021||July 2021|