Google parent Alphabet issues first dividend after strong earnings

Company's stock jumps more than 14% in after-hours trading after payout announcement

Google offices in Sunnyvale, California.. AP
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Google’s parent company Alphabet on Thursday announced it would issue its first ever dividend, at 20 cents a share, and authorised a stock repurchase programme worth $70 billion.

The cash dividend will be paid on June 17 to stockholders of record as of June 10.

Sergey Brin, one of the company's co-founders, owns more than 730 million Class B and C shares, entitling him to a payout of $146 million.

Another co-founder, Larry Page, who holds 389 million class B shares, is expected to receive almost $78 million.

The company’s board said it intends to pay quarterly cash dividends in the future, but it will depend on “review and approval by the company’s board of directors”.

The repurchases of shares are expected to be frequent, subject to general business and market conditions and other investment opportunities, the board said.

The company in California reported a 57.2 per cent jump in its first-quarter net profit to nearly $23.7 billion, driven by a surge in Search, YouTube and advertising divisions.

The world's largest provider of search and video advertisements reported a 15 per cent increase in its revenue for January to March, to more than $80.5 billion, passing the analysts’ estimate of $78.5 billion.

Its earnings per share soared 61.5 per cent to $1.89, compared to the expected $1.51.

Intelligent move

Alphabet's dividend payouts and share buybacks, on top of the solid earnings, are a “breath of fresh air” for the tech market as a whole, and an intelligent strategy for the search engine company going into a tough time of the year, Thomas Monteiro, senior analyst at, told The National.

"At a time when companies need investment capital more than ever amid the growing arms race in the AI space, and experience financing difficulties due to the repricing of interest rate expectations, this well-timed use of the company's cash pile may put it a couple of steps ahead of the competition in the innovation space at a pivotal moment,” Mr Monteiro said.

Alphabet’s cash and marketable securities stood at more than $108 billion as of March 31.

Shares zoom on dividend announcement

After the dividend announcement, Alphabet’s stock jumped 14.1 per cent to $180.20 a share in after-hours market trading.

It closed almost 2 per cent down at 157.95 a share on Thursday, giving the company a market value of $1.95 trillion.

Alphabet earned more than 48 per cent of its first-quarter revenue, or over $38.7 billion, from the US market.

In Europe, the Middle East and Africa, the company earned nearly $23.8 billion, or more than 29.5 per cent of its total sales.

Alphabet’s operating income soared 46.2 per cent on an annual basis in the last quarter to about $25.5 billion.

Google services business – which includes advertisements, Android, Chrome, hardware, Maps and Google Play – accounted for nearly 87.4 per cent of the company’s total sales.

It added almost $70.4 billion to overall revenue, nearly 13.6 per cent more than the first quarter of 2023.

Google’s advertising revenue from Search, YouTube and other businesses increased 15.2 per cent to more than $54.2 billion in the first quarter.

The total revenue from its cloud business grew an annual 28.4 per cent to nearly $9.6 billion in the March quarter, exceeding analysts' expectation of $9.4 billion.

Video: Google's romping robot adventure

Video: Google's romping robot adventure

Google Cloud includes the company’s infrastructure and data analytics platforms, collaboration tools and other services for enterprise customers.

It generates revenue mainly from fees received for cloud platform services and workspace collaboration tools.

Growth comes amid AI push

The company has been investing heavily in AI as it integrates generative AI capabilities into its search and other services.

“We are well under way with our Gemini [generative AI tool] era and there’s great momentum across the company,” said Sundar Pichai, Alphabet’s chief executive.

“Our leadership in AI research and infrastructure, and our global product footprint, position us well for the next wave of AI innovation.”

In February, Google suspended the image generation of people by Gemini, previously known as Bard, after criticism over its handling of racial issues.

Inaccurate images and text generated by Gemini have “offended” users and “shown bias”, Mr Pichai said at the time.

Updated: April 25, 2024, 11:57 PM