Own ASX dividend shares? Here are some of the payouts that have surprised so far this earnings season

Happiness and horror, the best and worst of ASX dividend shares so far this earnings season…

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ASX investors are currently in the thick of earnings season — a nail-biting time for shareholders of ASX dividend shares.

This is the time of year when companies release their financial results for the latest half. It will also reveal how much shareholders can expect to receive on payday if the company pays a dividend. As you might imagine, the outcome can make a big difference for passive income investors.

The current earnings season hasn’t been without its dividend surprises. However, it has contained a mix of positive and negative shocks to shareholders.

Let’s take a look at a handful of dividend delights and disasters from the February results so far.

ASX shares delivering down right smashing dividends

Kicking us off with the first surprise among ASX dividends shares this earnings season is mining giant BHP Group Ltd (ASX: BHP).

Strength in commodity prices and near-record production meant BHP achieved substantial growth across revenue and earnings. In turn, the company opted to pass on these bumper profits to its shareholders through a record interim dividend of US$1.50 per share. This was a surprise to analysts at Goldman Sachs who forecast US$1.27 per share.

Likewise, Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL) benefitted from strong demand for oil and gas during the half. As a result, revenue almost doubled and profits after tax more than tripled.

This colossal result enabled a final dividend of US$1.05 per share, representing a 255% increase on the previous corresponding period. Notably, this took the company’s 12-month trailing dividends to a level not seen since before the pandemic.

The final ASX dividend share surprising to the upside so far this earnings season is salary packaging company Smartgroup Corporation Ltd (ASX: SIQ). While the increase in revenue was reasonably modest, Smartgroup managed to increase its net profits by 7%.

Pleasingly, the board decided to declare a special dividend of 30 cents per share on top of the company’s normal 19 cents per share payment.

Dividend disappointments

Then there are those ASX dividend shares that have surprised investors in a bad way. Here are a couple of companies that have put a dent in the hopes of passive income investors this earnings season.

Firstly, AGL Energy Ltd (ASX: AGL) doused hopes of a higher dividend with cold water earlier this month. After recording a 41% fall in underlying net profits, the company decided to trim its interim dividend heavily. The outcome is a dividend of 16 cents per share, 41% less than the prior corresponding period.

Finally, homewares retailer Adairs Ltd (ASX: ADH) decided to do the same, though, not as drastically. A ~45% fall in net profit after tax led this ASX share to decrease its interim dividend to 8 cents per share from 11 cents per share.

Motley Fool contributor Mitchell Lawler owns SMARTGROUP DEF SET. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns and has recommended ADAIRS FPO. The Motley Fool Australia owns and has recommended ADAIRS FPO and SMARTGROUP DEF SET. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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