Shareholders are rewarded with increasingly high dividends, although payments may come under pressure in 2013

UK companies paid out a record £22.6 bn ($35.1 bn) in dividends during the second quarter of 2012, according to a report from share registrar Capita.

This marks a rise of 18.4 percent from last year’s second quarter, as well as being the sixth consecutive quarter of growth in shareholder payouts.

The record dividends can largely be attributed to one-off special dividend payments from certain companies, including GlaxoSmithKline and Old Mutual.

Disregarding these unexpected sums, however, underlying growth in Q2 still picked up at a rate of 14.5 percent over last year’s figures.

GlaxoSmithKline’s special dividend payout of £277 mn resulted from the sale of its over-the-counter medicines business in North America.

In addition to its £201 mn final dividend, Old Mutual paid out a special dividend of £1 bn to shareholders after disposing of its Nordic interests.

The biggest Q2 payouts came in the oil and gas and consumer goods sectors, while all sectors saw an overall rise. British American Tobacco made the largest payment, handing out £1.9 bn.

In total, 250 companies paid a dividend in Q2, up from 247 in the same period of 2011.

The figures have led Capita to raise its projections for the year: it now predicts a 15.1 percent rise on 2011, with dividends to hit a total of £78.3 bn.

Forecasts for 2013 look less bright, though, as Capita chief executive Charles Cryer emphasizes in the report.

‘We are more cautious about 2013 mainly because it is hard to see the magnitude of special payments being repeated, leaving regular dividends to do the heavy lifting,’ he says.