Marc Hasenfuss Editor-at-large

The directors of Howden Africa have — according to the annual report — "resolved not to declare a dividend". That’s not terribly surprising. A number of industrial counters have skipped dividends as profits have dried up. Howden, on the other hand, has been consistently profitable (and highly cash generative) over the longer term — but it has not paid a dividend since an interim distribution of 30c/share in 2013. By now, long-suffering shareholders have learnt not to bank on a sudden resumption of dividends, with Howden directors fumbling about with unconvincing reasons for stashing away a huge pile of cash. Understandably, conspiracy theories abound around the stinginess, though minority shareholders can’t completely abandon hope that one day a bumper special dividend might be declared. I’m really not sure how Howden directors — who may be acting under instruction from US-based majority shareholder Colfax — can continue with this farce in the absence of a meaningful acquisition or ...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now