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3 FTSE Dividends Lifted This Week: Whitbread plc, Debenhams Plc And Spirit Pub Co PLC

Is the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) on for three weeks of rises in a row? It certainly could be, after a strong afternoon session yesterday took it above 6,700 for the second time this week, to end the day on 6,713. By mid-morning today, the index of top UK shares was down 4 points from that to 6,709, but still a nice 86 points up on the week.

If the ups and downs of the FTSE are too much for you, you could just sit back and take comfort from the average 3.1% dividend yield you can get from FTSE 100 shares.

Here are three companies from the FTSE indices that raised their payouts this week:

Whitbread

It was first-half results time for Whitbread (LSE: WTB) on Tuesday, and it turned out to be a pretty decent six months. Total revenue was up 12.4% with like-for-like sales up 2.8%. Underlying pre-tax profit rose 12.6% to £216m with underlying earnings per share (EPS) up 12.2% to 90.92p.

The Hotels and Restaurants division saw underlying profit up 7.9%, but the star of the show was coffee chain Costa with a 20.5% rise to £43.5m.

Whitbread lifted its interim dividend by 11.8% to 21.8p per share. A similar rise in the final dividend would provide a total of 64p per share, beating the current analysts’ consensus, for a yield of 1.9% on today’s 3,345p share price.

Debenhams

Thursday was full-year results time for Debenhams (LSE: DEB), which reported a 2% rise in like-for-like sales, although pre-tax profit fell 2.7% to £154m. And as with many retailers these days, multi-channel shopping is playing an increasing part — up 46.2% to represent 13.2% of total sales.

With EPS up 4.1% to 10.2p, Debenhams announced a final dividend of 2.4p per share to take the year’s total to 3.4p, for a modest 3% rise on last year’s 3.3p. The payment is in line with the firm’s stated policy of maintaining dividend cover of three times, and on today’s share price of 100p it represents an above-average yield of 3.4%.

Spirit Pub Co

It’s back to booze-related business for our third today, Spirit Pub Co (LSE: SPRT), which released full-year results on Tuesday. The pub operator told us of a 6% rise in underlying pre-tax profit to £54m (though in statutory terms, the company reported a loss last year of £589m), and that fed down to an EPS rise of 9% to 6.3p.

The final dividend was lifted 5% to 1.37p per share, taking the year’s total to 2.05p, also a 5% rise. On the latest share price of 74.2p, that represents a yield of 2.8%. Forecasts for next year suggest a 12% rise to 2.3p per share.

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> Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool has recommended shares in Debenhams.