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Last Updated : Jun 16, 2018 12:37 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Do you know how these 5 corporate actions impact companies’ stock prices?

A corporate action is initiated by the board of directors and approved by the company’s shareholders.

Moneycontrol News @moneycontrolcom

Karthik Rangappa

Corporate actions are initiatives taken up by a corporate entity that brings in a change to its stock. There are many types of corporate actions that an entity can choose to initiate.

A good understanding of these corporate actions gives a clear picture of the company’s financial health, and also to determine whether to buy or sell a particular stock.

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In this article, we will be looking into the five most important corporate actions and their impact on stock prices.

A corporate action is initiated by the board of directors and approved by the company’s shareholders.

1. Dividends:

Dividends are paid by the company to its shareholders. Dividends are paid to distribute the profits made by the company during the year and is paid on a per share basis.

For example, during the financial year, 2012-13 Infosys had declared a dividend of Rs.42 per share. The dividend paid is also expressed as a percentage of the face value.

In the above case, the face value of Infosys was Rs.5/- and the dividend paid was Rs.42/- hence the dividend payout is said to be 840% (42/5).

It is not mandatory to pay out the dividends every year. If the company feels that instead of paying dividends to shareholders they are better off utilizing the same cash to fund a new project for a better future, they can do so.

Besides, the dividends need not be paid from the profits alone. If the company has made a loss during the year but it does hold a healthy cash reserve, then the company can still pay dividends from its cash reserves.

Sometimes distributing the dividends may be the best way forward for the company. When the growth opportunities for the company have exhausted and the company holds excess cash, it would make sense for the company to reward its shareholders thereby repaying the trust the shareholders held in the company.

The decision to pay a dividend is taken at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) during which the directors of the company meet. The dividends are not paid right after the announcement.

This is because the shares are traded throughout the year and it would be difficult to identify who gets the dividend and who doesn’t. The following timeline would help you understand the dividend cycle.

Dividend Declaration Date:

This is the date on which the AGM takes place and the company’s board approves the dividend issue

Record Date:

This is the date on which the company decides to review the shareholders register to list down all the eligible shareholders for the dividend. Usually, the time difference between the dividend declaration date and record date is at least 30 days

Ex-Date/Ex-Dividend date:

The ex-dividend date is normally set two business days before the record date. Only shareholders who own the shares before the ex-dividend date are entitled to the dividend. This is because in India the normal settlement is on T+2 basis.

For all practical purposes if you want to be entitled for a dividend you need to ensure you buy the shares before the ex-dividend date.

Dividend Payout Date:

This is the day on which the dividends are paid out to shareholders listed in the register of the company.

Cum Dividend:

The shares are said to be cum dividend till the ex-dividend date. When the stock goes ex-dividend, usually the stock drops to the extent of dividends paid.

For example, if ITC (trading at Rs. 335) has declared a dividend of Rs.5. On ex-date, the stock price will drop to the extent of dividend paid, and as in this case, the price of ITC will drop down to Rs.330. The reason for this price drop is because the amount paid out no longer belongs to the company.

Dividends can be paid anytime during the financial year. If it’s paid during the financial year it is called the interim dividend. If the dividend is paid at the end of the financial year it is called the final dividend.

2. Bonus Issue:

A bonus issue is a stock dividend, allotted by the company to reward the shareholders. The bonus shares are issued out of the reserves of the company.

These are free shares that the shareholders receive against shares that they currently hold. These allotments typically come in a fixed ratio such as 1:1, 2:1, 3:1 etc.

If the ratio is 2:1 ratio, the existing shareholders get 2 additional shares for every 1 share they hold at no additional cost. So if a shareholder owns 100 shares then he will be issued an additional 200 shares, so his total holding will become 300 shares.

When the bonus shares are issued, the number of shares the shareholder holds will increase but the overall value of an investment will remain the same.

Similar to the dividend issue there is a bonus announcement date, ex-bonus date, and record date. Companies issue bonus shares to encourage retail participation, especially when the price per share of a company is very high and it becomes tough for new investors to buy shares.

By issuing bonus shares, the number of outstanding shares increases, but the value of each share reduces as shown in the example above. The face value remains unchanged

3. Stock Split

The word stock split- for the first time sounds weird but this happens on a regular basis in the markets. What this means is quite obvious – the stocks that you hold actually are split!

When a stock split is declared by the company the number of shares held increases but the investment value/market capitalization remains the same similar to bonus issue.

The stock is split with reference to the face value. Suppose the stock’s face value is Rs.10, and there is a 1:2 stock split then the face value will change to Rs.5. If you owned 1 share before the split, you would now own 2 shares after the split.

Similar to bonus issue, the stock split is usually to encourage more retail participation by reducing the value per share.

4. Rights Issue

The idea behind a rights issue is to raise fresh capital.

However, instead of going public, the company approaches their existing shareholders Think about the rights issue as a second IPO but for a select group of people (existing shareholders).

The rights issue could be an indication of a promising new development in the company. The shareholders can subscribe to the rights issue in the proportion of their shareholding.

For example, 1:4 rights issue means for every 4 shares a shareholder owns, he can subscribe to 1 additional share. Needless to say the new shares under the rights issue will be issued at a lower price than what prevails in the markets.

However, a word of caution – The investor should not be swayed by the discount offered by the company but they should look beyond that. The rights issue is different from bonus issue as one is paying money to acquire shares.

Hence the shareholder should subscribe only if he or she is completely convinced about the future of the company. Also, if the market price is below the subscription price/right issue price it is obviously cheaper to buy it from the open market.

5. Buyback of shares

A buyback can be seen as a method for the company to invest in itself by buying shares from other investors in the market. Buybacks reduce the number of shares outstanding in the market, however, buyback of shares is an important method of corporate restructuring. There could be many reasons why corporate choose to buy back shares.

1. Improve the profitability on a per share basis
2. To consolidate their stake in the company
3. To prevent other companies from taking over
4. To show the confidence of the promoters of their company

5. To support the share price from declining in the markets

When a company announces a buyback, it signals the company’s confidence about itself. Hence this is usually a positive for the share price.

Disclaimer: The author is VP, Educational Services, Zerodha. The views and investment tips expressed by investment expert on moneycontrol.com are his own and not that of the website or its management. Moneycontrol.com advises users to check with certified experts before taking any investment decisions.

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First Published on Jun 16, 2018 10:35 am
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