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BMW stock dividend breaks record    

BMW is the latest German automaker to post record earnings for the past year, allowing the world's largest luxury car producer by sales to pay the highest dividend in company history.

The Bavarian-based carmaker said on Thursday it would pay shareholders a record 1.30 for each common share, up from 0.30 the year before.

German premium car rivals Audi and Mercedes have posted 9.4 per cent and 8.7 per cent margins respectively in the past year.

The luxury carmaking trio has been benefiting from surging demand in China for longer, chauffeur-friendly versions of their large saloon models, while the US market has also made a gradual comeback.

Customers were particularly keen on BMW's flagship 7 series saloon model, whose sales went up by a quarter to 65,800 units. The group's top-of-the-range model has higher profit margins than smaller cars have.

Norbert Reithofer, BMW's chief executive, said: "We have set new records for revenues and group earnings and have more than achieved our targets for the full year.

"We now want our shareholders to participate in this success by paying a record-level dividend."

He expected group sales of more than 1.5m cars this year and said all three brands BMW, Rolls-Royce and Mini would reach record sales.

In the past year, the group sold 1.46m cars, allowing it to defend its position as the world's largest premium carmaker.

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