The first half of 2019 has been a happy one for investors in AIM companies, with dividend payouts on the junior market rising to a record high.

According to a report released by financial data firm Link Group, AIM dividends in the six months jumped 23.9% year-on-year to £633 million and are forecast to hit £1.3 billion by the end of the year, surpassing 2018’s record total of £1.1 billion.

The number of companies paying out was also on the rise, with 35% of AIM’s firms expected to announce a dividend for 2019 compared to just 26% in 2012.

Link said the fastest growth in dividend payments came from areas such as healthcare, financials and industrial goods, while the poorest performers were retailers, building materials and construction firms, which saw a decrease in payouts.

The data also showed dividend-paying AIM companies yielded around 2.5%, not far off mid-caps on the main market.

The AIM All-Share itself was fairly flat over the week, rising just 0.2% to 883.6, while the FTSE 100 was up 0.9% at 7,349.5.

It was jackpot time for backers of online gambling firm GAN PLC (LON:GAN), which was one of the week’s biggest risers.

It shares jumping 28% to 90.5p on the back of a bullish trading that exceeded expectations.

GAN also said it was now seeking to list on Wall Street, with the US now accounting for 78% of its net revenues in the first half.

Miner Botswana Diamonds PLC (LON:BOD) sparkled as its shares soared 49% to 0.8p following news that Vutomi, a company in which it holds a 40% stake, had been granted environmental authorisation over diamond-bearing gravels at the Marsfontein mine in South Africa, a critical step in gaining a mining permit at the site.

Biotech group Tiziana Life Sciences PLC (LON:TILS) was up 18% at 65p after clinical data from a trial of its Foralumab treatment for inflammatory and autoimmune diseases showed the product was well-tolerated by patients.

Shares in Oilex Ltd (LON:OEX) gushed 38% higher to 0.18p after it resolved a dispute with India’s state-owned Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation over the Cambay field in the country.

This was followed by Hurricane Energy PLC (LON:HUR), which blew 9.8% higher to 47p as it struck oil at its Lincoln Crestal well off the west coast of the Shetland Islands.

However, it wasn’t all good news in the oil and gas sector, with shares in i3 Energy PLC (LON:I3E) plunging 48% to 28p after a pilot well at its Liberator Field in the UK’s North Sea was plugged and abandoned.

Another key faller was Chelsea Flower Show organiser Arena Events Group PLC (LON:ARE), which saw its shares wilt 34% to 18p after delivering a wider loss in its half-year results, which were mostly blamed on higher administrative costs following a number of acquisitions.

Kazakhstan-focused cement producer Steppe Cement Ltd (LON:STCM) sank like a stone during the week, falling 16% to 31p after the company predicted a decline in the Kazakh cement market for 2019.

Contract delays were causing a headache for remote site service provider RA International Group PLC (LON:RAI) as its first-half profits slumped alongside revenues. The shares tumbled 11% to 40.5p in response.

A profit warning left digital media group Catenae Innovation PLC (LON:CTEA) 25% lower at 0.03p, with its full-year losses now forecast to be higher than previously expected.

Meanwhile, investors in Matomy Media Group Ltd (LON:MTMY) didn’t take kindly to news that the firm had received an offer on its Team Internet technology business, with the shares diving 40% to 2.3p.