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Dividends by the Bucketful

With stock markets booming, equity funds are doling out dividends. From a paltry 8 equity funds which declared dividends in last fiscal, around 20 funds have declared payouts in the current fiscal. Check out whether your equity fund has paid dividends or not.

Dividends by the Bucketful
Oh! boy it's been pouring. Well, we are not talking just monsoons here. Ever since the Budget made dividends from equity funds totally tax-free the pace of dividend payouts has sharply increased. Of course, a booming stock market also had a role to play here. After all, if funds don't generate profits, there won't be any dividend, irrespective of tax concessions.

While financial year 2003 saw eight diversified funds pay dividends, this fiscal year so far has seen 20 payouts. Of these 20 schemes, Birla Dividend Yield Plus and DSP ML Top 100 Equity were launched in this calendar year.

Dividends Galore
Fund  Dividend (%)  RecordDate
UTI Master Value-Income 10 21/04/2003
Birla Dividend Yield Plus 8 30/05/2003
HSBC Equity 10 06/06/2003
Birla Dividend Yield Plus 5 13/06/2003
Birla Mid Cap 10 19/06/2003
Sundaram Select Focus 20 20/06/2003
Reliance Vision 25 26/06/2003
Sundaram Select Midcap 25 27/06/2003
Franklin India Prima 25 27/06/2003
DSPML Top 100 Equity 8 30/06/2003
DSPML Equity 8 30/06/2003
Cholamandalam Growth 20 30/06/2003
UTI Master Plus '91 10 07/07/2003
Sundaram Growth 15 11/07/2003
HDFC Top 200 20 15/07/2003
HDFC Equity 20 15/07/2003
HDFC Taxsaver 20 15/07/2003
IL&FS Growth & Value 20 18/07/2003
Reliance Growth 30 18/07/2003
UTI Master Growth 12 18/07/2003
UTI Master Value  30 18/07/2003
Birla Mid Cap  10 22/07/2003
Birla Dividend Yield Plus 12 24/07/2003
Prudential ICICI Growth 8 24/07/2003
Prudential ICICI Power 20 24/07/2003
Prudential ICICI Tax Plan 12 24/07/2003
UTI Index Select Equity 15 25/07/2003
Franklin India Bluechip 20 30/07/2003
Canequity-Tax Saver 7.5 01/08/2003
Canexpo 20 01/08/2003
Tata Equity Opportunities 21 12/08/2003
Alliance Basic Industries ND 20/08/2003
Alliance Frontline Equity ND 29/08/2003
Franklin India Prima Plus ND 19/08/2003

Of the remaining schemes Birla Midcap, Sundaram Select Focus, Sundaram Select Midcap and HSBC Equity were launched in the second half of calendar 2002. In the case of Birla Dividend Yield Plus, UTI Master Value and Reliance Vision this is the second round of dividend distribution in the calendar year so far.

In comparison to equity schemes, tax-saving funds had a poor run in terms of dividend payouts. In the last financial year, only one scheme—HDFC Tax Plan 2000—paid out a dividend. This fiscal HDFC Taxsaver (previously called Zurich India Taxsaver) has been the sole tax saving fund to declare a dividend, thus far. Dividends are nothing but a way for a fund to distribute profits. Equity investors looking for long-term growth, however, may not find this appealing. After all you want your money to grow over time and not returned to you.

And that's the reason why funds offer separate growth and dividend options. And within the dividend option, you can either go for a dividend payout or re-investment (read Growth Vs Dividend Re-investment on page 45 to know why the re-investment option is a better bet). The tax-free status of dividends also makes them attractive. But this tax concession will remain till March 31, 2004. So, enjoy it till it lasts.