Companies listed on the Palestine Securities Exchange (PSE) have distributed dividends to their shareholders worth $120.8m in the first half of 2010.

This brings the total distribution of cash and stock dividends to more than $630m from 2006 to the present day, with an average annual distribution of dividends at $126m, according to a report published by the PSE on 25 July.

The dividend distribution ratio, a measure of how much a company pays out in dividends in proportion to its profits, ranged from 5 per cent to 100 per cent.

The report showed that six companies paid dividends every year over the 2006 to 2010 period: Palestine Telecommunications (Paltel), Ahliya Insurance Group, Bank of Palestine, Birzeit Pharmaceutical, National Insurance Company and Jerusalem Pharmaceutical.

Paltel recorded the highest value of dividends distributed, with an average of $60m per year.

The report also showed that out of the 39 listed companies, 20 engaged in dividend distribution at least once.

The return on investment (ROI) in the PSE ranged between 5-7 per cent during the period, more than seven times the return on bank deposits, which stood at less than 1 per cent.

The dividend ratio to market capitalisation of listed companies averaged 28 per cent.