Spain's Santander aims to hike dividend by 5 pct in 2016
SANTANDER, Spain, March 18 (Reuters) - Spain's biggest bank, Banco Santander's, aims to pay a dividend of 0.21 euros ($0.2368) per share against 2016 earnings, an increase of 5 percent compared to 2015, according to a document posted on the bank's website.
The bank, which is due to present the plans to shareholders at a meeting later on Friday, said it intended to pay three dividends in cash and one in shares or cash, known as a scrip dividend, against this year's earnings.
Chairwoman Ana Botin slashed dividends in January 2015, soon after taking over from her late father at the bank as part of a plan to boost capital at the euro zone's largest lender.
Santander said then that dividends against 2015 earnings would be cut to 0.20 euros per share, from 0.60 euros previously, with three out of four payments to be made in cash.
It previously offered investors all payments as scrip dividends, whereby investors can choose between shares and cash.
The bank did not include the 2016 dividend hike in recent filings to Spain's stock market regulator ahead of its annual shareholder meeting. It detailed the announcement in an undated document posted on its website.
Santander aims to pay 30 to 40 percent of its recurring profits in cash dividends, compared with 20 percent previously. ($1 = 0.8869 euros) (Reporting by Jesús Aguado; Editing by Sarah White and Alexander Smith)
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