Presentation on theme: "Dividend Policy zTheories of investor preferences zStock repurchases zStock dividends and stock splits."— Presentation transcript:
Dividend Policy zTheories of investor preferences zStock repurchases zStock dividends and stock splits
Dividend Policy 4Dividends 4 Payments made to stockholders from the firm’s earnings, whether those earnings were generated in the current period or in previous periods 4Dividends affect capital structure 4 Retaining earnings increases common equity relative to debt 4 Financing with retained earnings is cheaper than issuing new common equity
What is “dividend policy”? zIt’s the decision to pay out earnings versus retaining and reinvesting them. Includes these elements: 1. High or low payout? 2. Stable or irregular dividends? 3. How frequent? 4. Do we announce the policy?
Do investors prefer high or low payouts? There are three theories: zDividends are irrelevant: Investors don’t care about payout. zBird-in-the-hand: Investors prefer a high payout. zTax preference: Investors prefer a low payout, hence growth.
Dividend Irrelevance Theory zInvestors are indifferent between dividends and retention-generated capital gains. If they want cash, they can sell stock. If they don’t want cash, they can use dividends to buy stock. zModigliani-Miller support irrelevance. zTheory is based on unrealistic assumptions (no taxes or brokerage costs), hence may not be true. Need empirical test.
Bird-in-the-Hand Theory zInvestors think dividends are less risky than potential future capital gains, hence they like dividends. zIf so, investors would value high payout firms more highly, i.e., a high payout would result in a high P 0.
Tax Preference Theory zRetained earnings lead to capital gains, which are taxed at lower rates than dividends: 28% maximum vs. up to 39.6%. Capital gains taxes are also deferred. zThis could cause investors to prefer firms with low payouts, i.e., a high payout results in a low P 0.
Implications of 3 Theories for Managers TheoryImplication IrrelevanceAny payout OK Bird-in-the-handSet high payout Tax preferenceSet low payout But which, if any, is correct???
Possible Cost of Equity Effects Cost of equity (%) Payout50%100% Tax Preference Indifference Bird-in-Hand 0
Which theory is most correct? zEmpirical testing has not been able to determine which theory, if any, is correct. zThus, managers use judgment when setting policy. zAnalysis is used, but it must be applied with judgment.
Dividend Policy in Practice Payment Procedures lDeclaration Date l Date on which a firm’s board of directors issues a statement declaring a dividend lEx-Dividend Date lThe date on which the right to the next dividend no longer accompanies a stock lUsually two business days prior to the holder-of-record date
lHolder-Of-Record Date l The date on which the company opens the ownership books to determine who will receive the dividend lPayment Date lThe date on which the company actually mails the dividend checks Dividend Policy in Practice Payment Procedures
Example of Procedure for Dividend Payment Days Thursday,Wednesday,Friday,Monday, JanuaryJanuaryJanuaryFebruary DeclarationEx-dividendRecord Payment datedatedatedate
What’s the “information content,” or “signaling,” hypothesis? zManagers hate to cut dividends, so won’t raise dividends unless they think raise is sustainable. So, investors view dividend increases as signals of management’s view of the future. zTherefore, a stock price increase at time of a dividend increase could reflect higher expectations for future EPS, not a desire for dividends.
What’s the “clientele effect”? zDifferent groups of investors, or clienteles, prefer different dividend policies. zFirm’s past dividend policy determines its current clientele of investors. zClientele effects impede changing dividend policy. Taxes & brokerage costs hurt investors who have to switch companies.
What’s the “residual dividend model”? zFind the retained earnings needed for the capital budget. zPay out any leftover earnings (the residual) as dividends. zThis policy minimizes flotation and equity signaling costs, hence minimizes the WACC.
What’s a “dividend reinvestment plan (DRIP)”? zShareholders can automatically reinvest their dividends in shares of the company’s common stock. Get more stock than cash. zThere are two types of plans: yOpen market yNew stock
Open Market Purchase Plan zDollars to be reinvested are turned over to trustee, who buys shares on the open market. zBrokerage costs are reduced by volume purchases. zConvenient, easy way to invest, thus useful for investors.
New Stock Plan zFirm issues new stock to DRIP enrollees, keeps money and uses it to buy assets. zNo fees are charged, plus sells stock at discount of 5% from market price, which is about equal to flotation costs of underwritten stock offering.
Optional investments sometimes possible, up to $150,000 or so. Firms that need new equity capital use new stock plans. Firms with no need for new equity capital use open market purchase plans.
Setting Dividend Policy zForecast capital needs over a planning horizon, often 5 years. zSet a target capital structure. zEstimate annual equity needs. zSet target payout based on the residual model. zGenerally, some dividend growth rate emerges. Maintain target growth rate if possible, varying capital structure somewhat if necessary.
Stock Repurchases Reasons for repurchases: zAs an alternative to distributing cash as dividends. zTo dispose of one-time cash from an asset sale. zTo make a large capital structure change. Repurchases: Buying own stock back from stockholders.
Stock Dividends vs. Stock Splits zStock dividend: Firm issues new shares in lieu of paying a cash dividend. If 10%, get 10 shares for each 100 shares owned. zStock split: Firm increases the number of shares outstanding, say 2:1. Sends shareholders more shares.
Both stock dividends and stock splits increase the number of shares outstanding, so “the pie is divided into smaller pieces.” Unless the stock dividend or split conveys information, or is accompanied by another event like higher dividends, the stock price falls so as to keep each investor’s wealth unchanged. But splits/stock dividends may get us to an “optimal price range.”
When should a firm consider splitting its stock? zThere’s a widespread belief that the optimal price range for stocks is $20 to $80. zStock splits can be used to keep the price in the optimal range. zStock splits generally occur when management is confident, so are interpreted as positive signals.
lCompanies in Italy and Japan use more debt than companies in the United States or Canada, but companies in the United Kingdom use less than any of these lDifferent accounting practices make comparisons difficult lGap has narrowed in recent years lDividend-payout ratios vary greatly also Capital Structures and Dividend Policies Around the World
Quick Quiz 1. When would managers issue an “extra” cash dividend? When management wishes to make a one-time cash distribution. 2. Why does the price of a share of dividend-paying stock fall on the ex-dividend date? Because the buyer no longer receives the right to the dividend. 3. What are the implications of the “clientele effect” for those who set the firm’s dividend policy? A dividend change, cet. par., is unlikely to attract additional investors. 4. What are the implications of the “clientele effect” for those who set the firm’s dividend policy? If all dividend clienteles are satisfied (i.e., the dividend market is in equilibrium), then further changes in dividend policy are pointless.