The effect of the fall in the stock market is now showing in dividends declared by unit trusts. After the EPF declared dividends of 4.5% (lowest in so many years), PNB now declares its lowest ever payout for the ASM. However PNB has been able to declare a reasonable dividend rate for its fixed-price equity income fund. The 6.25% dividend declared is so much higher than that offered by fixed deposit takers.
KUALA LUMPUR: Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) declared the lowest ever payout for Amanah Saham Malaysia (ASM), 6.25 sen per unit for fiscal 2009, as it decided to keep some money for a rainy day.
It could have paid 7.92 sen but decided on the lower figure, ASM's lowest since the fixed-price equity income fund was launched in 2000.
The payout is still more than double the current 12-month fixed deposit rate of 2.5 per cent.
"We still have a reasonable amount of cash. The ASM fund size is 7.6 billion, of which 2.1 billion is in cash and this can be used to buy good stocks," said PNB president and group chief executive Tan Sri Hamad Kama Piah Che Othman yesterday.
PNB had to contend with a stock market that fell some 40 per cent last year as investors worried a recession would hurt corporate earnings.
Hamad declined to predict how PNB would fare for the year till March 31 next year, but said it would strengthen its investment portfolio. Since last year, the purchase of ASM units has risen by a quarter.
PNB chairman Tun Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid said 402,513 unit holders who subscribed to 7.21 billion units of ASM would benefit from the total payout of RM407.58 million.
Last year, a record payout for ASM was declared with income distribution of 7.8 sen, compared with 6.8 sen in 2007. ASM made a gross income of RM440.73 million for fiscal 2009.
Meanwhile, ASM transactions nationwide will be halted from March 25 to 31 for the calculation of income distribution.