The importance of dividends to investors can’t be understated. If you’re interested in income-producing, dividend-paying shares, you may be interested in these big announcements today from two dividend heavyweights.

On a big day for companies reporting, we saw Admiral Group (LSE: ADM) return to its old ways and produce a 16% dividend increase. The car-insurance specialist saw its shares gain 7.3% today on the news, and with the stock yielding more than 5%, it may be worth a closer look.

But the stand-out performer was Arrow Global (LSE: ARW) who came in with a 39.4% dividend increase in its latest results — and that merits a closer look, too.

Arrow is a European purchaser and manager of debt portfolios. Following today’s announcement it now yields 3% and will pay its final dividend of 5.4p on 7 July (going ex-dividend on the 8 June).

The dividend is comfortably three times covered by earnings.

Tom Drury, chief executive officer of Arrow Global said:

“2015 was another record year for Arrow Global and another year of delivery on our targets. Adjusted EBITDA was up 51.5% to £153.1 million, net underlying income was up 19.6% to £35.4 million and we delivered a strong ROE of 26.5%.

“Reflecting this performance, and our confidence in the future, we are proposing a 39.4% increase in the full-year dividend to 7.1p, representing a 35% pay-out ratio.”

My colleagues at DividendMax are forecasting further double-digit dividend increases in the next two years, as Arrow takes advantage of growth in the European debt market.

Market forecasters continue to assert that the growth seen in the European NPL (non performing loans) market in recent years shows little sign of abating, and this is supported by independent research from PwC, which suggests that European NPL loan sales may well be up from €46bn in 2012 to €160bn in 2015.

It’s not a glamour stock, but it seems there is good business to be had in the European NPL market, and these results hint that Arrow can deliver.

Earnings forecasts of  26p and 31p for the next two years shows expected growth of 30% and 20% respectively and the PE at todays price of 231p is an undemanding 8.8 times next year’s prospective earnings.

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Mark Riding has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.