Podcast: Shares or cash for dividend?

In JSE Direct, Latest by Simon Brown

Simon Shares

  • Metrofile* (JSE code: MFL) results were a mixed bag with the reduced dividend expected but they are essentially going to almost halve the cover ratio over two years and that is more aggressive than expected. Growth was modest, but the results commentary was even ore modest. Two analysts I know spoke to management and both came away very confident of the stock and its prospects. A lot of talk is about the move to digital and the cloud and firstly Metrofile is well positioned there and secondly I have been hearing about paperless office for over 30 years.
  • ADvTech* (JSE code: ADH) purchase of Monash University looks great but expensive. On a PE of around 39x that is chunky. However will be able to remove a fair bit of costs plugging central services into existing infrastructure the company has. It also gives them degree levels offerings which is a great step and so while not cheap I like the deal.

* I hold ungeared positions.

Shares or cash for dividend?

Often a company will offer you shares instead of receiving a cash dividend. Assuming you still like the stock (if you don’t, then why haven’t you sold it?) I always take the shares. The exception could be if I think valuations are crazy and there are other stocks with much better valuations to buy. Then I’ll take the cash.

By taking shares you save on brokerage, likely very saving but further often times a dividend is not enough to actually reinvest economically. My brokers minimum of R100 brokerage for a trade at 0.5% means that I need to do a R20k trade to get an effective 0.5% brokerage. Sure I can save up the dividends or add them to other cash I may have in the account – but taking the shares is easy and brokerage free.

For tax purposes the free shares reduces your base cost price as the new shares come in at zero cost, so you have same total base cost but extra shares effectively meaning average purchase price is now lower. When you sell this new lower base cost will be used for tax purposes.

However you’ll save a little on tax as DWT is 20% (this is what you would have paid on the dividend) and maximin CGT is 18%.

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