3 FTSE 100 Shares Going Ex-Dividend: United Utilities Group PLC, Burberry Group plc and BT Group plc


The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) is having a terrible old time, having fallen for five weeks in a row and looking like it could be extending that run to six weeks. The index of top UK shares is now down 348 points (5.1%) from the 13-year high of 6,876 it set in May, to 6,528.

If you focus on dividends, you can simply ignore these week-by-week ups and downs — but do be sure to hold on to your shares until they pass their ex-dividend date if you want to be eligible for the cash. As we head towards Christmas the number of firms going ex-dividend is dropping, but here are three reaching their crucial dates before the reindeer arrive:

United Utilities

United Utilities Group (LSE: UU) will be going ex-dividend on Wednesday 18 December with respect to interim cash of 12.01p per share.

For the six months to 30 September, United Utilities saw its revenue grow by 3.7% to £853.3m and recorded an underlying operating profit rise of 8.8% to £341.7m. The interim dividend of 12.01p per share represents a 5% gain on the first half a year ago, and the same boost to its final payment should give us 36.03p per share for a yield of 5.6% on the current share price of 646p.


For Burberry Group (LSE: BRBY) the day is Wednesday 23 December, and the dividend is also an interim one, of 8.8p.

The upmarket fashion purveyor’s first six months were good, with revenue up 17% to £1,031m. Adjusted pre-tax profit was only £1m up at £174m, but that was better than the firm’s guidance. The dividend represented a rise of 10% over last year’s first half.

Forecasts for the full year suggest a total payment of 32p per share, and at today’s price of 1,485p that would yield a modest 2.2%.


BT Group (LSE: BT-A) (NYSE: BT.US) also goes ex-dividend on 23 December, with a payment of 3.4p per share lined up, and it’s another interim one.

First-half results, again to 30 September, were pretty mixed, and the 13% dividend hike outstripped a small rise in adjusted earnings per share of 3% to 11.9p — but there’s plenty of cover there. Adjusted pre-tax profit was up by the same 3% margin, to £1,204m, after revenue dropped 1% to £8,940m.

As BT’s share price has been rising, so its dividend yield has been falling. The shares are currently changing hands for 372p, and the forecast full-year dividend of 10.9p per share suggests a yield of 2.9%.

Finally, if you're a dividend investor, you should get yourself a copy of The Motley Fool's all-new "How To Create Dividends For Life" report, which gives you five golden rules for building your portfolio.

 It could make a good bit of reading for you when you're past the Christmas festivities, and help set you up for another great year of investing. So click here to get your hands on a copy now.

> Alan does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool has recommended shares in Burberry.