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Firms will be paying out more than ¥3 trillion in dividends in the second half of fiscal 2009, the first time that level has been achieved in two years, an economic think tank says.

Combined dividends paid in the September-March half by about 1,300 companies on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange are expected to hit ¥3.36 trillion, up 24.0 percent from the previous year, according to a tally by Shinko Research Institute as of April 26.

Second-half dividends in 2008 plunged 30.4 percent to about ¥2.7 trillion amid a global slump.

The institute attributed the sharp rise in 2009 to improving corporate performance primed by high growth in emerging economies and economic stimulus programs in many other countries.

Reflecting the recovery trend, companies that plan to hike dividends or resume payments in the latter half of 2009 leaped 73.2 percent to 265, the think tank said.

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