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Financial position and resources

Equity dividends

The table below sets out the amounts of interim, final and total cash dividends paid or, in the case of the final dividend for the 2009 financial year, proposed, in respect of each financial year.

  Pence per ordinary share
Year ended 31 March Interim Final Total
2005 1.91 2.16 4.07
2006 2.20 3.87 6.07
2007 2.35 4.41 6.76
2008 2.49 5.02 7.51
2009 2.57 5.20(1) 7.77


The final dividend for the year ended 31 March 2009 was proposed on 19 May 2009 and is payable on 7 August 2009 to holders of record as of 5 June 2009. For American Depositary Share (‘ADS’) holders, the dividend will be payable in US dollars under the terms of the ADS depositary agreement.

The Company provides returns to shareholders through dividends. The Company has historically paid dividends semi-annually, with a regular interim dividend in respect of the first six months of the financial year payable in February and a final dividend payable in August. The directors expect that the Company will continue to pay dividends semi-annually. In November 2008, the directors announced an interim dividend of 2.57 pence per share, representing a 3.2% increase over last year’s interim dividend.

In considering the level of dividends, the Board takes account of the outlook for earnings growth, operating cash flow generation, capital expenditure requirements, acquisitions and divestments, together with the amount of debt and share purchases.

In November 2008, the Board reviewed the previous dividend policy in the light of recent foreign exchange rate volatility, the impact of amortisation of acquired intangible assets and the current economic environment, following which it adopted a progressive policy, where dividend growth reflects the underlying trading and cash performance of the Group.

Accordingly, the directors announced a proposed final dividend of 5.20 pence per share, representing a 3.6% increase over last year’s final dividend.