Stock splits and reverse stock splits

Organizations undertake stock splits when it is perceived within the firm that shares of the company are traded at a too high price and this may slow down trading activity. If a stock split is undertaken, the market value of shares can slightly increase. Such increase tends to be maintained as long as dividends after the split also increase.

If a firm undertakes a 2 for 1 split than 2 new shares will be given in exchange for every 1 old share. The stock split does not affect the organizational capital structure.

Organizations can also do reverse stock splits when firm wants to increase the share price. Increase in share price may help to enhance trading of a shares activity. This occurs because unsophisticated investors tend to equate low priced stocks to low quality investments.

If firm undertakes a 1 for 2 split, one new share will be exchanged for 2 old shares.

Factors favouring higher and lower dividends

Higher dividends

There are factors that make higher dividends beneficial. For example, higher dividends tend to decrease an agency’s costs. This occurs because the more dividends management needs to pay out, the more external financing the firm will require. External financing increases the scrutiny that management actions have to undergo and, therefore, decreases the agency problem and agency costs.

It is also suggested that for investors to sell current stock to obtain income equivalent to dividends is not the same psychologically as receiving dividends. It is harder psychologically to sell stock to obtain income than to use dividends to obtain income. Therefore, it is argued, that these two actions cannot be viewed as substitutes, as proposed by the dividend irrelevance theory. The above point suggests that shareholders who need income that comes from dividends are psychologically more comfortable with receiving dividends than with selling part of their shares.

Another argument for the benefits of higher dividends refers to the fact that $1 of dividends received now cannot be seen as equivalent to $1 of future dividends or stock appreciation to be received at some point in the future.

Investors will prefer $1 to be received now to $1 to be received in the future. The only way they will be indifferent is if the amount to be received in the future will be adjusted to account for the time value of money.

Time value of money refers to the fact that investors will prefer $1 today to $1 tomorrow. For example, if an investor can receive $100 today or a certain amount 1 year from now, the only way the investor will be indifferent is if the amount 1 year from now is larger by an equivalent to investor’s required return.

In other words, future dividends or share appreciation must bring benefit of $1 plus additional return based on the required return of the investor. Only in such case investor will be indifferent. If investor’s required return is 9% per year than the investor will be indifferent if $100 is received today or $109 received in 1 year from now.

Lower dividends

Transactions costs often make lower dividends more beneficial for stockholders and for the firm. It is more beneficial for a stock holder to have lower dividends if an investor intends to reinvest dividends in stock. This occurs because there are transactions costs that investor have to incur to buy stock such as brokerage fees.

The firm will benefit from paying lower dividends in the case where external financing is required. This is because external financing results in costs such as flotation costs. If firm just uses retained earnings available instead of paying out dividends then the costs of external financing will be avoided or decreased.

Tax that investors have to pay on capital gains is generally lower than tax that they have to pay on dividends (this, however, may differ depending on location of investors and is no longer applicable to US investors as a result of the 2003 Tax Act).

Moreover, tax on capital gains must only be paid in the future, when the gain will be realized. The tax on dividends must be paid when payment of dividends occurs. Therefore, from this perspective, it is generally more beneficial to reinvest earnings compared to paying it out as dividends to the shareholders.

Also, if investors want to reinvest dividends by buying more stock, investors still lose money by paying taxes on dividends. Therefore, an argument made by dividend irrelevance theory suggesting that investors can reinvest dividends by buying more stock and therefore obtaining the same result as by funds being reinvested is irrelevant as soon as assumptions of a perfect world (which includes the assumption that there are no taxes) is no longer hold.

 

Gordon model (Constant-Growth Valuation Model)

The Gordon model is one of the models used in dividend valuation. It is very simple, as long as one knows the formula, which is:

P0=D1/(rs-g)

Also sometimes presented as: P = D/(k-g)

Where:

P0 or P – price of the stock

D1 or D – per share dividend expected at the end of year 1 (at the end of the next financial period)

rs or k – required return for equity investor

g – constant growth rate (expected annual growth of dividends)

Gordon model is usually used for mature companies only since it is assumed that annual growth of dividends remains constant.

It is very important to note that if you are only given the current per share dividend (D0, per share dividend received in this financial period), then you will need to adjust it for the next financial period before you can use it in the Gordon model. To do this you will need to take the current dividend and multiply it by (1 + g). The calculation is as follows:

D1=D0*(1+g)

The original equation of the Gordon model (P0=D1/(rs-g)) calculates the price of the share. However, you are looking for the cost of common stock. Therefore, you need to rearrange equation of the Gordon model as follows:

rs = (D1/Po) + g

Now you just plug in the numbers into the adjusted Gordon equation and you will be able to obtain the cost of common stock. Because common stock is paid out of the after-tax earnings, the tax adjustment is irrelevant.

Sometimes it is necessary to find the growth rate (g) first, before you can calculate the cost of the common stock (rs) with the help of the Gordon model. To do so, you need to find out what was the per share dividends applicable to common stock over the last few years (this information will be given). After obtaining this information, you can calculate the growth rate.

It is best to explain this with an example.

EXAMPLE 1:

Calculating the growth rate, which is necessary for usage of the Gordon model:

The information given below is on per share dividends applicable to common stock over the last few years. You need to find the growth rate of dividends over the given period.

Per share dividends from 2005-2010:

2010 – $4

2009 – $3.96

2008 – $3.76

2007 – $3.27

2006 – $3.25

2005 – $3

Now, by using a financial calculator, you can calculate the growth rate as follows:

PV = -3 (per share dividend in 2005, the first year from which per share dividend information is available)

FV = 4 (per share dividend in 2010, the per share dividend in the current period)

N = 5 (number of periods over which growth occurred)

Find I = it will be 5.92% (this number represents growth of dividends over the given period)

EXAMPLE 2:

Using the growth rate (found above) in the Gordon model:

Now, if we know that the growth of the dividends is expected to be the same into the future and the price of the stock is $55, we can compute the cost of common stock (rs) as follows:

rs=(4*(1+0.0592)/55)+0.0592

rs=0.0770+0.0592

rs=0.1362=0.14%

The cost of common stock also represents the return that investors expect to earn from their shares. If the actual return is less – investors will sell their stock.

Test yourself

The ordinary share is currently sold for $40 each. The growth of shares was 10% over the last 5 years and is expected to be the same in the future. A dividend of $3.5 dollars was paid to shareholders in the current period.

REQUIRED: What is the cost of an ordinary share?

SOLUTION:

We need to use the adjusted Gordon model. In other words, we need to use the formula: rs = (D1/Po) + g

Rs=(3.5*(1+.1)/40) +.1

Rs=(3.85/40) +.1

Rs=19.63%

Note that the dividend is adjusted for growth in the next period by multiplying the current dividend by (1+g).

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Finding the specific after-tax cost of common stock (rp)

Our next concern is to find the after-tax cost of common stock, after attending to finding the after-tax cost of long-term debt and after-tax cost of preferred stock.

Common stock


Common stock, which is also called common shares or ordinary shares, refers to the category of ownership of the enterprise. Common shares generally have voting rights and better potential for appreciation of shares compared to preferred stock.

However, holders of common stock generally do not have fixed dividends and cannot receive dividends until dividends are paid out to preferred stock holders. Moreover, in case of liquidation, holders of common stock only have claim on company’s assets if claims of all creditors as well as holders of preferred stock are satisfied. Therefore, common stock is more risky than preferred stock.

Cost of common stock (rp)

To determine the specific after-tax costs of common stock (rp), you can use two techniques: Gordon model or the CAPM (Capital Asset Pricing Model)

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Finding the after-tax cost of preferred stock (rp)

After discussing the cost of long-term debt, we must now find the cost of preferred stock (after-tax). Preferred stock, which is also called preferred shares or preference shares, refers to the category of ownership that has preferential claim on earnings and assets of the firm, compared to common stock ownership.

The preferential claim is generally manifested in the fact that dividends cannot be distributed to common stockholders until it is distributed to holders of preferred stock first. Further, in case of liquidation, holders of the preferred stock also have preferential claim on assets of the firm, compared to the holders of common stock.

Preferred stock is a hybrid instrument as it has characteristics of both debt and equity. The drawback of preferred shares, compared to the common stock, is lower potential for appreciation of shares as well as absence of voting rights.

Calculating the cost of preferred stock


To calculate the specific after-tax cost-of-preferred-stock all we need to do is to take the preferred stock dividend and divide it by the net proceeds from the sale of the preferred stock (funds received minus flotation cost).

Cost-of-preferred-stock (rp) = Preferred stock dividend/(Funds received – Flotation costs)

Because preferred stock is paid out of the after-tax earnings, the cost-of-preferred-stock is already after-tax.

EXAMPLE:

If Company A issued 9% preferred stock at $100 and the flotation cost is $8, then the calculation will be as follows:

rp = 100*9%/100-8

rp =9/92

rp =9.8%

Test yourself


A corporation is issuing 10% preferred stock that should be sold for $15 each. The business will incur flotation costs of $2 per share.

REQUIRED: What is the cost-of-preferred-stock?

SOLUTION:

10%*15/15-2

1.5/13

The answer is 11.54%

Note: If you struggle with a calculation, read using a financial calculator article for some simple tips on using a financial calculator.

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