There may be three types of dividend policy
(1)Strict or Conservative dividend Policy which envisages the retention of profits on the cost of dividend pay-out. It helps in strengthening the financial position of the company; (2) Lenient Dividend Policy which views the payment of dividend at the maximum rate possible taking in view the current earing of the company. Under such policy company retains the minimum possible earnings; (3)Stable Dividend Policy suggests a mid-way of the above two views. Under this policy, stable or almost stable rate of dividend is maintained. Company maintains reserves in the years of prosperity and uses them in paying dividend in lean year. If company follows stable dividend policy, the market price of tis shares shall be higher.
There are reasons why investors prefer stable dividend policy. Main reasons are:-
1. Confidence Among Shareholders. A regular and stable dividend payment may serve to resolve uncertainty in the minds of shareholders. The company resorts not to cut the dividend rate even if its profits are lower. It maintains the rate of dividends by appropriating the funds from its reserves. Stable dividend presents a bright future of the company and thus gains the confidence of the shareholders an the goodwill of the company increases in the eyes of the general investors.
2. Income Conscious Investors. The second factor favoring stable dividend policy is that some investors are income conscious and favor a stable rate of dividend. They too, never favour an unstable rte of dividend. A Stable dividend policy may also satisfy such investors.
3. Stability in Market Price of Shares. Other things beings equal, the market price very with the rate of dividend the company declares on its equity shares. The value of shares of a company having a stable dividend policy fluctuates not widely even if the earnings of the company turn down. Thus, this policy buffer the market price of the stock.
4. Encouragement to Institutional Investors. A stable dividend policy attracts investments from institutional investors such institutional investors generally prepare a list of securities, mainly incorporating the securities of the companies having stable dividend policy in which they invest their surpluses or their long term funds such as pensions or provident funds etc.
In this way, stability and regularity of dividends not only affects the market price of shares but also increases the general credit of the company that pays the company in the long run.
Factors Affecting Dividend Policy
A number of considerations affect the dividend policy of company. The major factors are 1. Stability of Earnings. The nature of business has an important bearing on the dividend policy. Industrial units having stability of earnings may formulate a more consistent dividend policy than those having an uneven flow of incomes because they can predict easily their savings and earnings. Usually, enterprises dealing in necessities suffer less from oscillating earnings than those dealing in luxuries or fancy goods.
2. Age of corporation. Age of the corporation counts much in deciding the dividend policy. A newly established company may require much of its earnings for expansion and plant improvement and may adopt a rigid dividend policy while, on the other hand, an older company can formulate a clear cut and more consistent policy regarding dividend.
3. Liquidity of Funds. Availability of cash and sound financial position is also an important factor in dividend decisions. A dividend represents a cash outflow, the greater the funds and the liquidity of the firm the better the ability to pay dividend. The liquidity of a firm depends very much on the investment and financial decisions of the firm which in turn determines the rate of expansion and the manner of financing. If cash position is weak, stock dividend will be distributed and if cash position is...