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Dividend Stability and Sustainability in CEE Region
Abstract: High dividend paying companies from emerging markets become good alternative to investing in developed markets due to current low interest rates environment. Dividend paying stocks provide certain stability of return, offer lower risk, attractive valuations. Besides, dividend paying firms usually have sustainable and predicted cash flows, which allow stable dividend payments. The present paper provides research results and discussion on dividend stability and sustainability in emerging markets of Central and Eastern European region. Though the emerging market companies do not have a robust history of rewarding their investors with dividends yet, the study results show that the payout ratios declined only slightly during the financial crisis of 2008-2009. The share of dividend-paying companies during the recession did not drop below 50% threshold, while in peak years the share of dividend paying companies was about 63-65% of the analyzed sample of 117 CEE companies. The present paper provides also an insight into the earnings and dividend patterns and analyzes their correlation. Globally the power of dividends becomes substantial when it comes to their reinvestment, which is also studied in the present research in order to determine the role of dividend payments as a constituent of the total shareholder return. The authors test the hypothesis of whether high dividend paying stocks are able to generate sustainable market outperformance.
Keywords: Sustainability, dividends, total return, CEE countries, financial crisis