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Dividends are the portion of a company’s net profit that is distributed to shareholders. Its amount is proposed by the Board of Directors then voted by the Shareholders’ Meeting after the approval of the accounts of the last year.
Dividends must be paid to shareholders, in proportion to the number of shares that they hold, within nine months of the end of the company’s financial year. Dividends are most commonly paid in cash, i.e. in euros. Also, they can be paid in newly-issued shares if this option is approved by the Shareholders’ Meeting.
To have the right to receive dividends, you must own one or more shares on the day before the reloval of coupon.
Receiving dividends requires no special action on your part. Cash dividends will be credited directly to your securities account by your financial intermediary.
2019 Dividend:Proposal to allocate Crédit Agricole S.A.’s 2019 results to reserves’ account
In 2019, Crédit Agricole S.A.’s underlying net income reached a historical level, at €4,582 million. Underlying profitability amounted to 11.9%. In this context, the Board of Directors had set, on 13th February 2020, the dividend proposed at the General Meeting for the year 2019 at 0.70 euro, up +1.4% compared to 2018.
Due to Crédit Agricole Group’s structure, 55.9% of the dividends distributed by Crédit Agricole S.A. are paid to the Regional Banks, which retain a significant part of their earnings, in order to support the economies of their territories. The Group's overall payout ratio thus amounts to 17%.
As a result of a very moderate overall payout ratio at Crédit Agricole Group level, it has a high level of solvency (CET1 ratio at 31 December 2019 of 15.9% for Crédit Agricole Group and at 12.1% for Crédit Agricole S.A., well above the 2019 CET1 regulatory requirements of 623 and 345 basis points respectively).
The intention to pay out dividends on 2019 results is no longer compatible with the recommendations of the European Central Bank expressed on 27th march, which asks banks under its supervision not to pay dividends as long as the coronavirus crisis persists and "at least until the beginning of October 2020". This deadline is however not compatible with commercial code, which prescribes an annual dividend payment no later than September 30.
Under these conditions, Crédit Agricole S.A.’s Board of Directors, consulted in writing on 1 April 2020 pursuant to the legal provisions on the functioning of the decision-making bodies during the Covid-19 epidemic, has decided to propose to the General Assembly of 13 May 2020 the allocation of the entire profit of 2019 to the reserves’ account. This measure will improve the CET1 ratios by around 20 basis points for Crédit Agricole Group and around 60 basis points for Crédit Agricole S.A. During the second half of 2020, the Board will propose guidelines for distribution to shareholders. These could consist in the payment of an advance on dividends pertaining to 2020 results, or in an exceptional distribution from reserves, which would require the holding of an Exceptional General Shareholders' Meeting. These decisions have no impact on the payment of AT1 coupons.
Crédit Agricole Group moreover recalls that it is fully committed to support and accompany its customers in the context of the economic crisis resulting from the Covid-19 epidemic, all the while protecting its employees. As early as March 6th, Crédit Agricole announced the implementation of supporting measures for its customers, in particular to help them find solutions adapted to their short term cash requirements.
Crédit Agricole continues to work every day in the interests of its customers and society, by relying on its universal banking model, which draws its strength from the diversity of its business lines and its prudent risk management.
 This rule apply also to the other Crédit Agricole S.A.’s European listed entities.
Last update: April 2020