1. SIGNALLING POWER OF DIVIDEND ON FIRMS’ FUTURE PROFITS
The main objective of this paper is to point out the signalling effect of dividends through different dividend policies which impact the value and performance of the firm. The author has taken references from several research papers to give a holistic view on the topic.
Two stands have been presented regarding dividend affecting the future profits of the firm:
a) NO IMPACT –It is based on the MM model which suggests that dividend is irrelevant in determining the firm’s value and only investments are considered. However, it is based on the assumption of no tax and hence the theory collapses in the real world as companies do need to pay corporate taxes.
b) HAS AN IMPACT – It has been explained through different theories:
· Taxation: Tax on capital gains is less compared to dividends. This difference can influence the after-tax return of the investors who will expect higher returns for the tax difference and thus their willingness to invest in the firm.
· Clientele effect: Firm’s dividend decision policy depends on the type of investors it wants to attract. People with already tax liability would invest in low return stocks for lower tax rates.
The clientele effect and taxation show the stock purchase behaviour of the shareholders on the basis of dividend pay-out.
· Agent theory: The dividend payment ensures that the shareholders are happy and hence reduce their interference in the management. The managers are monitored by the credit institutions through credit ratings further satisfying the shareholders.
Also, good credit rating helps the firm to get loans from the market more easily because if the company pays dividend, it shows its capability to meet its obligations to shareholders and the creditors.
· Share repurchase: Though often used as a substitute to dividends, share repurchase do not have the same signalling effect as it may signal poor or no investment opportunities for the firm and hence, low future profits. It also results in a capital restructure.
· Signalling theory: Due to information asymmetry between the investors and management regarding future earnings, dividends can help in information signalling. An increase in dividend may signal a growing firm, thus changing the expectations of the investors regarding the future profits. However, it could be a signal of a disinvesting firm as well.
Conclusion – Firstly, the study has given proofs regarding why the firms pay dividend at all. It also proves with evidence from past research that dividend does signal the future profits of the firm and in turn proving that it effects the investment decisions of the investors as well. However, it is beneficial only if the investor is able to read it correctly to maximise his profits.
2. A STUDY ON THE IMPACT OF DIVIDEND ANNOUNCEMENT ON STOCK PRICE
Dividend announcements have signalling effect and usually an increase in the dividend payments or first-time payouts signal strength of the company suggesting excess capital and future profits.
Thus, they are important for the investors from the point of maximising the shareholder’s fund which is effected by the stock prices. Many researchers have already concluded that there is a positive relation between dividend announcement and stock price movements. So, the paper studies the impact of dividend on the stock prices of specifically 20 PSUs and takes 3 periods into account – the day of the announcement and 10 days pre and post the announcement.
The study was conducted using ‘Event Study Methodology’ and has taken two hypothesis into account:
a) No significant difference of pre and post announcement of dividend on stock price returns- null hypothesis
b) A significant difference of pre and post announcement of dividend on stock price returns.
According to the t-test undertaken, two values are important:
p-value – it talks about the probability of getting the same result the next time. So, here if p= 0.05, it means there is 5% chance of no real difference, and so if p0.05, the null hypothesis is accepted.
t-value – it compares one group’s average with one single number (1) or other group’s average (2). The reliability of the t values can be found out comparing it with p-value to know if it is significant or not
According to results, the p-value is 0.05 in all models. Thus, H2 hypothesis is rejected and shows that dividend does impact shareholder’s wealth.
Conclusion: Having better market value can enable banks to attract more funds easily if required. Better market value will also satisfy the clientele of investors positively. Increase in dividend can reflect higher expectations of higher future and signal growth. It impacts the image of the company which can help in attracting more investors at less cost thus increasing the profit margin of banks. Though the market value and shareholder’s wealth do not depend only on the dividend policies, it does have a strategic impact on both.
5. DIVIDEND PAYOUT AND FUTURE EARNINGS GROWTH
Many market observers believe that higher dividend payments mean low availability of cash for future investments and thus decrease in future earnings growth. It has been supported by several theories like the Gordon theory which states that with constant expected rate of return higher dividend results in decrease in future earnings. The pecking order theory suggests that companies with growth opportunities would prefer low dividend pay-outs to ensure availability of cash to finance investments. However, the findings of Arnott and Asness suggests the opposite.
The Arnott and Asness study was based on aggregate results which is capitalisation weighted and hence the result is affected by performance of only few large companies. This study is based on company level analysis where all companies are treated equally. As against the Arnott and Asness study which focused on 5 and 10- year ahead future earnings, the following one focuses on shorter horizons of 1-, 3- and 5- year long horizons. This was done to decrease the survivor bias as the observation period increases.
The research gave the following results:
· It shows positive relationship between current pay-out and future earnings growth. Also, when controlling other variables, it shows that larger companies with higher earnings yields have lower future earnings growth.
· Specific time periods: it shows that the time periods are also responsible for the results and the positive relationship between pay-out and future earnings growth has strengthened in recent years.
· Share repurchases is usually considered as an important and alternate way to distribute cash. The study thus compared the two to see its impact on the future earnings. The results showed that though share repurchase had positive relation with future earnings growth, it was much stronger in companies with dividend pay-out.
The possible explanation for the above results have been given in the free cash flow theory. It states that if companies have abundant free cash flows, the managers may over-invest which explains the low dividend- low growth relationship. Also, in one test by Lang and Litzenburg, they found that companies with limited growth opportunities experience larger share price increase. It also explains the agency cost which is higher for low or non- dividend paying companies.
Conclusion: The study showed that the result was same even when taking other factors like alternate measures of earnings, several time periods and influence of share repurchases into account. It thus proved the positive relationship between dividend payments and future earnings growth at the company-level. It also gives potential explanation for the same wherein this relationship is more prominent with companies with limited growth opportunities as it prevents over-investment.
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