At Air Liquide, as our investment cycle is long, we believe in long term commitment. So, we encourage long term shareholders. Air Liquide believes in promoting and encouraging long term share ownership, through transparent investor relations, strong respect of all shareholders, regular dividend growth, thanks to regular growth in earnings and loyalty bonuses for long term shareholders.
Air Liquide was created in 1902 thanks to individual shareholders. The company paid its first dividends in 1907 and never ceased since. Air Liquide was listed on the Paris Stock Exchange in 1913.
For more than 10 years, the pay-out ratio is stable, at around 50% of the Group net profit. Over the last 30 years, dividends kept increasing regularly or were at least maintained.
The Air Liquide dividend is paid in cash once a year after the General Shareholders’ Meeting which takes place in May. Air Liquide’s ex-date is around mid-May.
A strong share ownership culture
A differentiating feature of Air Liquide is the high proportion of individual shareholders: together, more than 420,000 individual shareholders hold some 32% of the share capital at the end of 2019.
Their loyalty is attributable to a long history of steady earnings growth, resulting from the constant development of Air Liquide’s markets and the solidity of its economic model.
Air Liquide regularly does a scrip issue, usually every other year. The last one, 1 free share allocated for 10 shares, took place on October 9, 2019. These attributions are proposed by the Board of Directors and require the General shareholders meeting approval. Free shares receive the same voting rights, dividends and loyalty bonus as the shares held to receive them.
Some 30 scrip issues have been done over the last 60 years. The share capital increases are through the capitalization of retained earnings. This is not a dividend. The number of shares increases whereas the share price immediately decreases in the same order of magnitude. The characteristic of these free share offers is that they do not modify the value of the portfolio of an Air Liquide shareholder. They just make it more liquid by maintaining a lower share price.
The positive impacts of the scrip issues are:
By reducing the share price, they help to maintain the shares at a “reasonable / affordable” level
They contribute to improving share liquidity
The following year, a facially flat dividend per share would represent an increase in the dividend paid for all shareholders due to the higher number of shares
Fractional rights are paid in cash. Long term registered shareholders, individual or institutional having held their shares for more than 2 calendar years, receive 10% more free shares.
Note: All the historical published per share data (stock market prices, earnings and dividends) must be adjusted to take into account this increase in the number of shares. Do not hesitate to contact Shareholder Services to learn more.
+10% free shares (in case of a free share attribution)
All shareholders, individual and institutional, who have held registered shares (either direct or intermediary) for more than two full calendar years, can benefit from the loyalty bonus, which results in a 10% dividend increase and 10% more free shares. Shares must be held until dividend payment and free share attribution dates (generally in May-June).
The “Intermediary registered” form
For institutional investors, intermediary registered shares are a good compromise. You can enjoy the advantages of registered shares and the convenience of maintaining the shares in your normal portfolio. You receive all the documentation directly, in particular the documents relative to the General Shareholders meeting (Notice of meeting, voting form…) and are entitled to the loyalty bonus if you hold your shares for more two full calendar.
Note: According to French Law, the number of shares entitled to the loyalty bonus is limited, for anyone shareholder, to 0.5% of the Company’s capital.
The TSR is an annualized rate of return for a shareholder who buys his shares at the beginning of the period and resells them at the end of the period. This calculation takes into account the evolution of the share price, the dividends reinvested in shares as well as the allocations of free shares, both increased by the loyalty bonus, and includes the impact related to the increase capital of 2016.
Average annual growth of the portfolio as of December 31, 2019: