Podcast: Shares or cash for dividend?

Simon BrownJSE Direct, Latest

Simon Shares

  • By this time net week we’ll know the results of the 2019 elections. It’s been a quieter election season than I’d expected – which is great.
  • Coronation* (JSE code: CML) update. Assets under management (AUM) flat and spot on what I expected but average AUM was 8% lower for the period. HEPS 20%-30% lower worse than the 15%-20% down I expected on the back of average AUM being 8% lower even though it was flat start to finish. I hold and am happy with some cheeky bids in lower if anybody wants to sell to me at discount?
  • I have been buying some Barloworld* (JSE code: BAW) in this pull back as per my Graham value webcast from a few weeks ago after missing my initial entry when it ran to +R130. Still have some bids in lower down.
  • Upcoming events;

* I hold ungeared positions.

Shares or cash for dividends?

A great question in my inbox, why do some companies issues shares instead of cash for dividends and which should we take?

The why is simple enough, the company wants to pay the dividend but also wants to hang onto cash, usually because they have debt to pay off or a large deal pending. Pay the dividend with shares keeps some cash while still ‘paying’ a dividend.

This is a potential warning sign worth digging into. Why the shares rather than cash? Is liquidity dying, do they have debt problems? Maybe not, but dig around anyway just in case.

The trick is that these shares now have a perpetual right on all future profits, so they are more ‘expensive’ than cash which is why they’re firstly not a great idea for the company and why I will usually take them as it’s not just this dividend I get, but all future dividends as well.

Further if not every share holder takes the shares, then your economic interest in the company increases. Example, you own 20 of 100 shares = 20%. They issue a 5% dividend, that’s 5 shares dividend in total, 1 goes to you, 3 to others and 1 shareholder takes cash, only 4 new shares issued. Now you have 21 of 104 shares = 20.2%.

We also save on brokerage if we take shares and typically they’ll be issued at a slight discount (around 5%) to the share price.

As a rule I will take the shares unless I think the share price is way over priced, but the important consideration is the future dividends so I pretty much always take the shares.

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JSEDirect is an independent broadcast and is not endorsed or affiliated with, nor has it been authorised, or otherwise approved by JSE Limited. The views expressed in this programme are solely those of the presenter, and do not necessarily reflect the views of JSE Limited.

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