Dividend History

Unilever NV & Unilever PLC – Full Dividend History

Unilever full dividend history, a truly remarkable story of dividend growth

European Dividend Growth Investor

Unilever NV is a core-holding from me (Tier-1) and I was doing some additional research the other day. So I ended up browsing through their website in which I thought they would list the Unilever full dividend history. It then caught my eye that their dividend history on the website is only dating back to 1999. Meanwhile I also noticed that they have all their annual reports listed online which they have issued since inception of the company (2 Sep 1929).

That’s when it sparked my curiosity as to how far their dividend history really goes back, so I decided to open up every annual report and data scrape every dividend announcement that I could find.

It took me quite a bit of time, especially calculating it back in today’s currency. As a result I think that this is probably the most comprehensive dividend overview from Unilever that you will find on the internet.

Before you have a look at the data, don’t forget to also look at my special addition of the frequently asked questions, the DGI way. You will find it towards the bottom of this post and in there I am answering questions that are common to dividend growth investors, but uncommon to be published by investor relations of any given company.

Having said that and without further ado, hereby both the Unilever NV and Unilever PLC full dividend history.

Table of Contents

Unilever NV Dividend History
Unilever PLC Dividend History
Raw Data – Unilever NV Dividend History
Raw Data – Unilever PLC Dividend History
Frequently asked questions – the DGI way

Unilever NV Full Dividend History

Unilever full dividend history - Unilever NV
Note: 2009 year in graph adjusted to show growth. See note below next table for rationale.
YearUnilever Stock Dividend – Fiscal YearUnilever Stock Dividend – Calendar YearDividend Growth YoY
2020€ 0,0000€ 0,4104
2019€ 1,6416€ 1,61845,99%
2018€ 1,5488€ 1,52018,01%
2017€ 1,4340€ 1,395612,00%
2016€ 1,2804€ 1,26235,99%
2015€ 1,2080€ 1,19105,96%
2014€ 1,1400€ 1,12405,95%
2013€ 1,0760€ 1,050010,70%
2012€ 0,9720€ 0,95408,00%
2011€ 0,9000€ 0,88308,17%
2010€ 0,8320€ 0,819079,12%
2009€ 0,4645€ 0,7795-39,68%*
2008€ 0,7700€ 0,76002,67%
2007€ 0,7500€ 0,72007,14%
2006€ 0,7000€ 0,67006,06%
2005€ 0,6600€ 0,64004,76%
2004€ 0,6300€ 0,59338,62%
2003€ 0,5800€ 0,58002,35%
2002€ 0,5667€ 0,53675,59%
2001€ 0,5367€ 0,500012,59%
2000€ 0,4767€ 0,448912,95%
1999€ 0,4220€ 0,390311,16%
1998€ 0,3797€ 0,347912,56%
1997€ 0,3373€ 0,291627,79%
1996€ 0,2639€ 0,262412,76%
1995€ 0,2341€ 0,23410,00%
1994€ 0,2341€ 0,22245,27%
1993€ 0,2224€ 0,21861,73%
1992€ 0,2186€ 0,21033,96%
1991€ 0,2103€ 0,20085,50%
1990€ 0,1993€ 0,181111,65%
1989€ 0,1785€ 0,167510,02%
1988€ 0,1622€ 0,142218,51%
1987€ 0,1369€ 0,121918,07%
1986€ 0,1159€ 0,11213,44%
1985€ 0,1121€ 0,10675,03%
1984€ 0,1067€ 0,10018,37%
1983€ 0,0985€ 0,09118,14%
1982€ 0,0911€ 0,09110,00%
1981€ 0,0911€ 0,08628,27%
1980€ 0,0841€ 0,079312,55%
1979€ 0,0747€ 0,067812,27%
1978€ 0,0666€ 0,06472,80%
1977€ 0,0647€ 0,06322,39%
1976€ 0,0632€ 0,06149,28%
1975€ 0,0579€ 0,05485,52%
1974€ 0,0548€ 0,05078,05%
1973€ 0,0507€ 0,05240,00%
1972€ 0,0507€ 0,04848,23%
1971€ 0,0469€ 0,041114,18%
1970€ 0,0411€ 0,03550,00%
1969€ 0,0411€ 0,040915,53%
1968€ 0,0355€ 0,03550,64%
1967€ 0,0353€ 0,031610,93%
1966€ 0,0318€ 0,0319-0,24%
1965€ 0,0319€ 0,03920,96%
1964€ 0,0316€ 0,029910,58%
1963€ 0,0286€ 0,026114,55%
1962€ 0,0250€ 0,02384,76%
1961€ 0,0238€ 0,02380,00%
1960€ 0,0238€ 0,02385,00%
1959€ 0,0227€ 0,01848,11%
1958€ 0,0210€ 0,022119,35%
1957€ 0,0176€ 0,01760,00%
1956€ 0,0176€ 0,015910,71%
1955€ 0,0159€ 0,01590,00%
1954€ 0,0159€ 0,01590,00%
1953€ 0,0159€ 0,014516,67%
1952€ 0,0136€ 0,01360,00%
1951€ 0,0136€ 0,01870,00%
1950€ 0,0136€ 0,010134,83%
1949€ 0,0101€ 0,01010,00%
1948€ 0,0101€ 0,01010,00%
1947€ 0,0101€ 0,01010,00%
1946€ 0,0101€ 0,0050100,00%
1945€ 0,0050€ 0,0000
1944€ 0,0000€ 0,0000
1943€ 0,0000€ 0,0000
1942€ 0,0000€ 0,0000
1941€ 0,0000€ 0,0000
1940€ 0,0000€ 0,0000-100,00%
1939€ 0,0034€ 0,0085-60,00%
1938€ 0,0085€ 0,0034
1937€ 0,0000€ 0,0020-100,00%
1936€ 0,0037€ 0,003137,50%
1935€ 0,0027€ 0,00270,00%
1934€ 0,0027€ 0,00270,00%
1933€ 0,0027€ 0,0034-33,33%
1932€ 0,0041€ 0,0048-25,00%
1931€ 0,0054€ 0,0068-20,00%
1930€ 0,0068€ 0,00680,00%
1929€ 0,0068€ 0,0027

* In 2009 Unilever decided to start paying a quarterly dividend. Technically you could argue that there was a dividend cut by purely looking at the dividend payments. But as you can see in the 3rd column, the dividend payouts have continued to grow from a calendar-year payout point of view. In this case it was good for investors, because it maintained a steady and growing cash-flow.

Unilever PLC Full Dividend History

Unilever full dividend history - Unilever Plc.
Note: 2009 year in graph adjusted to show growth. See note below next table for rationale.
YearUnilever stock dividend – Fiscal YearUnilever stock dividend Calendar YearDividend Growth YoY

* See earlier comment about switch from bi-annual to quarterly dividends.

Unilever full dividend history – the raw data

As mentioned earlier, I translated all dividend payments into today’s currency. But I can imagine that you would like to do your own analysis as well. That’s why I decided to publish the raw data below.

Unilever NV

Unilever PLC

Frequently Asked Questions – the DGI way

Most FAQ’s on investor relations websites are not designed to answer questions from Dividend Growth Investors. Well, I have done my homework and went through Unilever’s full history of annual reports which is available on their website dating back to the early sixties.

Let met therefore present you with an alternative FAQ. If you miss any question in here, let me know!

Frequently asked questions

Since when does Unilever pay a dividend?
What is Unilever’s dividend growth streak?
Did Unilever cut its dividend?
What was the average yearly dividend growth per decade?
Did Unilever pay any special dividends?
What did Unilever do with its dividend during past recessions?
What are the Unilever dividend dates?
When does Unilever announce its new quarterly dividend?

Since when does Unilever pay a dividend?

Unilever started to pay a dividend right from inception when the company was created. In December 1929, Unilever NV paid its first interim dividend of 48 cent (fl. – guilders) and Unilever PLC paid 2,4 pence (£sd, pre-decimal system).

The first few years of the dividend payments where bumpy, with several cuts. This is understandable as the company was still forming and they were quite strict in their dividend policy. At the same time the company got created on the brink of the great depression.

First dividend proposal from Unilever which can be found in the 1929 annual report and statement of accounts.

What is Unilever’s dividend growth streak?

Let me answer it to you from different point of views, because the data is not that straight forward.

Unilever NV – Dividend Growth Streak

A data purist would say that the growth streak for Unilever NV is 11 years. They will argue that the dividend got cut in 2009, because technically less dividends were declared based on fiscal year 2009 earnings than the year before.

A very optimistic person would say that the growth streak for Unilever NV is 75 years, because in their view Unilever NV didn’t cut its dividend since the second world war. The optimist would ignore the 1 cent decline in 1966, because the Unilever PLC dividend remained the same that year.

A realistic person would argue that the growth streak for Unilever NV is 55 years, because they would argue that the switch from bi-annual dividends to quarterly dividends was hard to manage differently and therefore it wasn’t a dividend cut. The calendar amount of paid dividends in 2008, 2009 and 2010 did see steady growth. However, the realistic person would argue that the dividend got cut with 2.4% in 1966.

Unilever PLC – Dividend Growth Streak

Unilever PLC dividend growth streak looks much more bumpy, but this is mainly due to the Euro <> Pound currency over the last years. Due to that Unilever PLC “cut” its dividend 6 times since the second world war and therefore I rather refer to Unilever NV for its dividend growth streak.

However, it does look like Unilever PLC had a stronger average percentage increase over the last decades compared to Unilever NV. This doesn’t sound too bad for the UK investors!

Did Unilever cut its dividend?

Yes, see also answer above. H. S. A. HARTOG, Chairman of Unilever in 1966 had the honor to be the only post-war chairman to truly cut the dividend. He did this with just one cent.

It’s a bit awkward, because sales grew 3 percent that year and profit marginally improved. Net profit was a bit down due to higher loan and tax expenses, but the payout ratio was flat at ~40%.

Source: annual report and accounts 1966, page 46

If anyone of the readers have any special context of why the dividend was not increased with such positive numbers, then please let me know and I will update the answer to this question.

Otherwise this sounds to me more about “a situation in time” where the expression Penny Wise, Pound Foolish definitely applies 😜

What was the average yearly dividend growth per decade?

Unilever NVUnilever PLC
1940-1949## *7,18%
* No evidence of dividends paid during the war. Dividends resumed from 1946 onwards, but it’s hard to calculate a growth percentage when the starting point is zero.

Did Unilever pay any special dividends?

Yes, as per my knowledge, Unilever paid a special dividend in 1970, 1998 and 2006.

In 1970 Unilever paid a special dividend to avoid a dividend cut, due to the introduction of an additional interim-dividend in 1969 (NV fl 0,73 | PLC 1,25p). This idea of 2 interim-dividends was a year later abandoned again, but it did result in an additional dividend in 1970 to keep its dividend growth streak.

In 1998 Unilever paid a special dividend equivalent to the cash proceeds received in 1997 from the sale of Unilever’s speciality chemicals businesses (NV fl 1,70 | PLC 66,13p). If my calculations are correct, then this meant at the time a 30% yield purely for the special dividend. Off course, a part of the business was sold, but their earnings power and dividend increases where not negatively impacted by this sale.

In 2006 Unilever paid a special dividend due to strong cash flows and a strong balance sheet which gave the board of directors strong confidence in paying a one-off special dividend (NV 0,26 EUR | PLC 17,66p).

What did Unilever do with its dividend during past recessions?

I am referring to Wikipedia for a list of recessions since world war 2. The figures below have mainly been derived by looking at the year after the recession year, because dividend announcements impacted due to a recession usually follow with a year delay.

RecessionUnilever NVUnilever PLC
Recession of 1949MaintainedMaintained
Recession of 1953MaintainedMaintained
Recession of 19588,11%8,13%
Recession of 1960-1961Maintained0,98%
Recession of 1969-1970Maintained0,43%
Recession of 1973-19751973: maintained, followed by avg growth1973: 0,09% followed by avg growth
Recession of 198012,55%-4,74%
Recession of 1981-19821982: maintained1982: 7,29%
Early 1990s5,50%4,30%
Early 2000s5,59%10,32%
Recession 2007-20092,67%18,84%

What are the Unilever dividend dates?

Unilever currently pays its dividends quarterly. Q1 dividends are paid in the first week of June, Q2 dividends are paid in the first week of September, Q3 dividends are paid in the first week of December and Q4 dividends are paid in the second or third week of March.

For most of its history, Unilever was paying an interim dividend in December, the same year as the ending of the fiscal year. The final dividend was typically paid in May after the approval at the annual general meeting (AGM).

In the early years, especially during the second world war, dividends where often paid in December the next year. It just took time in those days to compile an annual report, hence also the dividends payments where delayed.

When does Unilever announce its new quarterly dividend?

Unilever typically announces its new quarterly dividend somewhere in the middle of April as part of its first quarter trading statement.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, it was a very nice exercise to collect the Unilever full dividend history. Especially the feeling of a travel through time when browsing through all those annual reports. It gave me very interesting insights about what was going on in those times and how the board of directors looked at a given situation.

Actually, maybe the most interesting piece of information that I found can be seen in below snippit.

Source: 1939 annual review and accounts, page 1

“It is not known whether or not the board of that company (Unilever NV) have recommended that dividend”.

Can you imagine that happening today? These must have been crazy times!

Having said that, I hope that you found this Unilever full dividend history post useful and interesting as well. I did a lot of data crunching, so I wouldn’t be surprised if I made a small mistake somewhere. Please let me know if this is the case and I will correct it asap!

I also believe that this is probably the most comprehensive overview of dividend history from Unilever that you will find available online. It took me a lot of effort and I have shared all the data with you so that you can perform your own analysis.

However, I would very much appreciate it when you post a link to this blog post in case you are using this data set for your own analysis and your own blog posts.

If you like these kind of posts, then please let me know via the comment section or via a like. It will tell me if there is an interest in this kind of information so that I might consider doing the same for other European companies.

Yours Truly,

— European Dividend Growth Investor

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I’m not a certified financial planner/advisor nor a certified financial analyst nor an economist nor a CPA nor an accountant nor a lawyer. I’m not a finance professional through formal education. I’m a person who believes and takes pride in a sense of freedom, satisfaction, fulfillment and empowerment that I get from being financially competent and being conscious managing my personal money. The contents on this blog are for informational and entertainment purposes only and does not constitute financial, accounting, or legal advice. I can’t promise that the information shared on my blog is appropriate for you or anyone else. By reading this blog, you agree to hold me harmless from any ramifications, financial or otherwise, that occur to you as a result of acting on information provided on this blog.

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