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Dividend Policy Theories of investor preferences Stock repurchases

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Presentation on theme: "Dividend Policy Theories of investor preferences Stock repurchases"— Presentation transcript:

1 Dividend Policy Theories of investor preferences Stock repurchases
Stock dividends and stock splits

2 Dividend Policy Dividends Dividends affect capital structure
Payments made to stockholders from the firm’s earnings, whether those earnings were generated in the current period or in previous periods Dividends affect capital structure Retaining earnings increases common equity relative to debt Financing with retained earnings is cheaper than issuing new common equity

3 What is “dividend policy”?
It’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?

4 Do investors prefer high or low payouts? There are three theories:
Dividends are irrelevant: Investors don’t care about payout. Bird-in-the-hand: Investors prefer a high payout. Tax preference: Investors prefer a low payout, hence growth.

5 Dividend Irrelevance Theory
Investors 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. Modigliani-Miller support irrelevance. Theory is based on unrealistic assumptions (no taxes or brokerage costs), hence may not be true. Need empirical test.

6 Bird-in-the-Hand Theory
Investors think dividends are less risky than potential future capital gains, hence they like dividends. If so, investors would value high payout firms more highly, i.e., a high payout would result in a high P0.

7 Tax Preference Theory Retained 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. This could cause investors to prefer firms with low payouts, i.e., a high payout results in a low P0.

8 Implications of 3 Theories for Managers
Theory Implication Irrelevance Any payout OK Bird-in-the-hand Set high payout Tax preference Set low payout But which, if any, is correct???

9 Possible Stock Price Effects
Bird-in-Hand 40 Indifference 30 20 Tax preference 10 50% 100% Payout

10 Possible Cost of Equity Effects
Tax Preference 20 15 Indifference 10 Bird-in-Hand 50% 100% Payout

11 Which theory is most correct?
Empirical testing has not been able to determine which theory, if any, is correct. Thus, managers use judgment when setting policy. Analysis is used, but it must be applied with judgment.

12 Dividend Policy in Practice Payment Procedures
Declaration Date Date on which a firm’s board of directors issues a statement declaring a dividend Ex-Dividend Date The date on which the right to the next dividend no longer accompanies a stock Usually two business days prior to the holder-of-record date

13 Dividend Policy in Practice Payment Procedures
Holder-Of-Record Date The date on which the company opens the ownership books to determine who will receive the dividend Payment Date The date on which the company actually mails the dividend checks

14 Example of Procedure for Dividend Payment
Days Thursday, Wednesday, Friday, Monday, January January January February Declaration Ex-dividend Record Payment date date date date

15 What’s the “information content,” or “signaling,” hypothesis?
Managers 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. Therefore, a stock price increase at time of a dividend increase could reflect higher expectations for future EPS, not a desire for dividends.

16 What’s the “clientele effect”?
Different groups of investors, or clienteles, prefer different dividend policies. Firm’s past dividend policy determines its current clientele of investors. Clientele effects impede changing dividend policy. Taxes & brokerage costs hurt investors who have to switch companies.

17 What’s the “residual dividend model”?
Find the retained earnings needed for the capital budget. Pay out any leftover earnings (the residual) as dividends. This policy minimizes flotation and equity signaling costs, hence minimizes the WACC.

18 What’s a “dividend reinvestment plan (DRIP)”?
Shareholders can automatically reinvest their dividends in shares of the company’s common stock. Get more stock than cash. There are two types of plans: Open market New stock

19 Open Market Purchase Plan
Dollars to be reinvested are turned over to trustee, who buys shares on the open market. Brokerage costs are reduced by volume purchases. Convenient, easy way to invest, thus useful for investors.

20 New Stock Plan Firm issues new stock to DRIP enrollees, keeps money and uses it to buy assets. No fees are charged, plus sells stock at discount of 5% from market price, which is about equal to flotation costs of underwritten stock offering.

21 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.

22 Setting Dividend Policy
Forecast capital needs over a planning horizon, often 5 years. Set a target capital structure. Estimate annual equity needs. Set target payout based on the residual model. Generally, some dividend growth rate emerges. Maintain target growth rate if possible, varying capital structure somewhat if necessary.

23 Stock Repurchases Reasons for repurchases: As an alternative to distributing cash as dividends. To dispose of one-time cash from an asset sale. To make a large capital structure change. Repurchases: Buying own stock back from stockholders.

24 Stock Dividends vs. Stock Splits
Stock dividend: Firm issues new shares in lieu of paying a cash dividend. If 10%, get 10 shares for each 100 shares owned. Stock split: Firm increases the number of shares outstanding, say 2:1. Sends shareholders more shares.

25 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.”

26 When should a firm consider splitting its stock?
There’s a widespread belief that the optimal price range for stocks is $20 to $80. Stock splits can be used to keep the price in the optimal range. Stock splits generally occur when management is confident, so are interpreted as positive signals.

27 Capital Structures and Dividend Policies Around the World
Companies 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 Different accounting practices make comparisons difficult Gap has narrowed in recent years Dividend-payout ratios vary greatly also

28 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.

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