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RBS and Rio Tinto drive UK dividend payments to record quarter

Rio Tinto paid out US$7.1bn in the second quarter of 2019, while RBS paid out its first annual dividend – as well as a special divi – since the financial crash

Rio Tinto - RBS and Rio Tinto drive UK dividend payments to record quarter
Rio Tinto knocked Nestlé off top spot this year

London-listed mining giant Rio Tinto PLC (LON:RIO) was the biggest dividend payer in the world in the second quarter.

In April, the FTSE 100 company paid out a record US$7.1bn to shareholders, which included a huge US$4.0bn special dividend following the sale of its stake in the Grasberg copper mine in Indonesia.

READ: FTSE 100 dividends set for new record in 2019
Nestlé is traditionally the top dividend payer in the second quarter, but Rio relegated it to second place this time around, ahead of Sberbank of Russia.

French healthcare colossus Sanofi and German insurance group Allianz rounded out the top five.

After Rio, the next UK company to feature on the list was Royal Dutch Shell PLC (LON:RDSB), down in 11th place.

Record quarter for UK dividends

In total, UK dividends grew by almost 9% year-on-year to a quarterly record US$35.0bn.

The largest contribution to the growth came from the banking sector, largely thanks to Royal Bank of Scotland PLC (LON:RBS), which not only restored its regular dividend, but also set aside another US$1.1bn or so (£900mln) as a special pay-out.

Rival bank Barclays PLC (LON:BARC) also doubled the amount it returned to shareholders in the quarter.

“Strong capital ratios and improving profits are enabling the banks to return more cash to shareholders,” said asset manager Janus Henderson which compiled the list.

Quick facts: Rio Tinto PLC

Price: 4712 GBX

Market: LSE
Market Cap: £58.74 billion

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