3 FTSE 100 Shares Going Ex-Dividend Next Week: BT Group plc, BG Group plc And Unilever plc

It’s ex-dividend time for BT Group plc (LON: BT.A), BG Group plc (LON: BG) and Unilever plc (LON: ULVR).

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If you want to be eligible for a dividend payment, or if you’re watching for possible share price falls, keeping up with ex-dividend dates can prove beneficial — as long as you hold the shares up to and including that day, you’ll get your money.

We have a number of popular FTSE 100 companies reaching that crucial date next week, and here are three of them that will go ex-dividend on Wednesday, 7 August:

BT Group

Next Wednesday is final ex-dividend day for BT Group (LSE: BT-A) (NYSE: BT.US), with a payment of 6.5p per share due. Added to the first-half payment, that takes BT’s total annual dividend up 14% to 9.5p per share. With BT shares currently trading at 342p apiece, that represents a yield of 2.8%. It might not sound like a handsome income, but the shares are up 55% over the past year, so shareholders have done pretty well overall.

The dividend was covered 2.8 times by earnings per share (EPS), too, so it doesn’t look like a very risky one. For the year to March 2014, analysts are currently forecasting a dividend of around 10.9p per share for a rise of 15%, and that would be around 2.3 times covered as EPS is expected to fall slightly.

BG Group

The same day brings us to ex-dividend time for BG Group (LSE: BG) with respect to a first-half payment of 8.51p per share. Production for the six months to June 2013 did fall 2% and EPS dropped 3%, but that was in line with expectations. The dividend represented a rise of 10% over the first half last year, and if we get the same boost for the full year we’ll be looking at a yield of around 1.6% based on today’s 1,185p share price.

That price has fallen over the past 12 months, by around 6%, and with full-year EPS set to fall, BG is on a forward P/E of an average-looking 14.5 for the year to December. But 2014 forecasts suggest a return to rising earnings, bringing the P/E down to 12.

Unilever

Our third company is Unilever (LSE: ULVR) (NYSE: UL.US), which has been a popular share amongst income investors for years. The producer of a multitude of household goods will pay a second-quarter dividend of 23.12p per share, after reporting underlying sales growth of 5% for the six months to June. The firm saw a 14% rise in operating profit to €3.9bn, with diluted EPS up 14% to 83 eurocents per share. Added to a Q1 payment of 22.91p, that gives us 46.03p per share so far, and there’s a full-year total of approximately 89p currently forecast — on today’s price of 2,670p, that would give a 3.3% yield.

Unilever shares were getting a little toppy by some standards earlier in the year, and the price has fallen a bit over the last few months — it’s currently around 15% up over the past 12 months overall. But even with a bit of fall, Unilever is still on a forward P/E of 19 based on the latest forecasts.

Finally, dividends like these can add nicely to your investment returns — they can be spent or reinvested according to your needs. Whether investing for income or growth, good old cash is always welcome.

And that’s why I recommend the BRAND-NEW Fool report, “The Motley Fool’s Top Income Share For 2013“, in which our top analysts identify a share that they believe will provide handsome dividend income for years to come.

But it will only be available for a limited period, so click here to get your copy today.

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

Should you invest, the value of your investment may rise or fall and your capital is at risk. Before investing, your individual circumstances should be assessed. Consider taking independent financial advice.

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