Interim Dividend

It is paid depending on whether the directors want to give it out, provided the shareholders approve it. These are paid before the financial statements are released.

Dividends are paid in either cash or stock, given out of a company's profits as a reward or incentive. The board of directors determines the amount. 

These are not required to be paid. It is the decision of the board of directors and is done with the shareholders' approval.

If dividends are not distributed, this amount is reinvested in the business to help expand or increase income in the company. 

Dividends do not highly affect the company's share price value because share prices are affected by stocks. This includes the volatility of the stocks and how the company is performing.  

Dividends can primarily be paid in two ways, final dividend and/or interim dividend. 

This is paid before the financial statements are released, which will be further explained in this article. Moreover, The final dividend is paid after the financial statements and the Annual General Meeting (AGM) release.

An investor can assess dividends in a few ways; some of these ways are mentioned below: 

- Dividend per share (DPS)

As the formula suggests, it is the dividend paid over each share given by the company. 

This formula helps assess if the company is increasing its dividend over the business life because the increase will imply that the company is performing well.  

- Dividend yield

Dividend yield (%) = Annual dividend per share / Current share price

This is a financial ratio that measures the dividend the company pays the shareholder compared to the share's price over a year. 

It helps determine the amount of cash that will be returned if the investment is made. 

It is an easy formula to formulate, but it is also just one way to determine the return from this type of investment. Hence, investors calculate this, keeping in mind its limitations. 

Dividend payout ratio

Dividend payout ratio = Dividends paid / Net earnings

This ratio looks at the company's total dividends to what the company has earned for a specific period. Essentially, it means what percentage of the company's earnings have been paid dividends. 

Compared to other formulas which assess the return and how much it will give, this ratio looks at what type of return will be provided, whether it is a dividend income or a capital gain.

This helps investors decide whether to invest, depending on their investment strategy

Understanding Dividends

Who can receive dividends? 

Shareholders are paid this amount as an incentive for their investment in the company. Although not a requirement, most companies provide this incentive to appeal to other potential investors and keep current shareholders satisfied.  

How often are dividends paid?

Dividends can be paid out in various manners, such as quarterly, semi-annually, and annually, varying from company to company. Most companies tend to pay quarterly, whereas others opt to pay annually, semi-annually, or monthly. 

These types of payment or distribution of dividends also differ from country to country. For example, Some UK-based companies pay monthly dividends, whereas, in India and the US, companies usually pay quarterly. 

Do dividends reduce profits? 

Dividends do not reduce profits since they are not expenses, but they decrease retained earnings in the equity section of the balance sheet. Although, it is possible that cash would reduce if the company chooses to pay higher dividends. 

Do dividends increase as profit increases? 

The dividend doesn't need to increase in proportion to the profits. Still, if the company is doing well, it could increase the dividend rate unless they do not take the extra cash to reinvest into the company itself.  

Types of dividends

There are primarily four types of dividends or ways to pay a dividend out: cash dividend, stock dividend, property dividend, and liquidating dividend. Below explained are these dividends: 

Cash Dividends

The company's profits or retained earnings pay these dividends to shareholders. This is the most common way to pay out dividends, as most companies with excess cash can pay this to shareholders. 

Stock Dividend

These dividends are paid in the form of shares or stocks to shareholders of the company. This means that the shareholder gets more shares as a reward or benefit of being an investor in the company. 

Property Dividend

These dividends are paid in the form of physical assets, as opposed to cash or stocks, of the company. Therefore, this method of distribution is not as common as cash or stock dividends. 

Liquidating Dividend 

This dividend is only paid under two conditions, either partial or full liquidation of the company. These are categorized separately from normal dividend distribution because this happens only when the company ends its business operations. 

An example of dividends,

Apple pays dividends quarterly. In 2021, they paid in cash in January, April, July, and October. ($ 0.205, $ 0.22, $ 0.22, $ 0.22 respectively) 

Interim dividend definition

This is a payment made by the company to shareholders before the Annual General Meeting (AGM). This is paid before issuing the financial statements and can be paid quarterly or yearly.

Examples 

On November 18, 2020, The National Aluminium Company Limited, known as NALCO, announced a dividend shortly after releasing the company's second-quarter (July-September) and semi-annual financial results.

During their meeting, the company's board of directors approved the dividend payout at 10% of its shares' face value (Rs.5) or Rs.0.50 per equity share.

The case qualifies as an interim dividend example because the dividend declaration from the National Aluminium Company Limited was issued during the fiscal year, before the final financial statements and the company's Annual General Meeting.

Understanding the concept

It is paid depending on whether the directors want to give it out, provided the shareholders approve it. The board of directors also decides the amount.

This is in contrast to final dividends, which are voted on and approved in the AGM after the release of the audited financial statements.

The directors determine the amount, which is usually lesser than the amount paid for the final dividend. 

This type of dividend is distributed only if the company has done well, making this risky for those seeking benefits.   
    
Although some shareholders prefer having a stable dividend paid out rather than having higher gains in the future, this is called the bird in hand fallacy.

Investors find this theory attractive since it shows that the company is not only stable but also that it cares about its investors.  
    
There are disadvantages to paying this type of dividend, which could limit the company's growth or possibly even cause the loss of clients' investment in the company if they fail to continue paying this dividend. 

Payment of this dividend also requires keeping many records and a decrease in retained earnings if the company pays out cash dividends. 

Small companies usually do not pay dividends as they would use the profits to reinvest in the company. But it is a common practice in larger organizations.

Calculation 

Like other dividend calculations, These are also calculated as a percentage of the company's earnings and distributed on a per-share basis.

Shareholders receive the dividend amount to the number of shares invested in the company. 

For example, ABC Ltd. announced that 15% of its $500,000 in mid-year earnings would be distributed as interim dividends. There are 10,000 total shares. This is paid in the following way: 

Interim dividend = Amount of shares * Percentage of dividend/ Number of shares

 = (500,000 * 15%)/ 10,000 = $7.5 per share.

How is it paid or funded? 

These dividends are similar to final dividends because they are also paid by taking it from the profit in the profit and loss account.

It could be taken from the earnings of the fiscal year. These dividends can also be taken from the prior years' retained earnings.

Final vs. Interim dividend

The final dividend is based on the company's year-end profits calculations. The company's earnings determine this fixed rate for the whole year. 

Commonly paid out in cash, it could be a stock and cash dividend or just a stock dividend and is decided by the board of directors. 

If the company has incurred a loss, it may choose not to give dividends. But if they do so, it would be out of the reserves or from the prior year's profits.

Final dividends are confused with liquidating dividends. A liquidating dividend is a dividend paid when the company cannot meet its obligations and has to liquidate by giving its assets to current creditors and shareholders. 

Hence, liquidating dividends are only paid when the company liquidates, whereas the final dividend is paid yearly if the company wants to do so.

The articles of association don't need a special clause for the final dividend to be paid out, whereas the interim dividend would need a clause to be declared. 

The following points will further explain the differences between these dividends:

Difference
Final DividendsInterim Dividends
  • Paid after the company has determined its earnings, either quarterly, half-yearly, or annually.
  • Paid before the company determined its earnings, possibly in the middle of the year or every three months.
  • Rates are usually higher.
  • Rates are smaller compared to final dividends. 
  • Declared after financial statements are released.
  • Declared before financial statements are released. 
  • Discussed and announced at the AGM.
  • Discussed in the general meetings held twice a year.
  • Once announced, it cannot be withdrawn. 
  • It can be withdrawn with the permission of shareholders. 

Both these dividends can be paid through cash or stocks. 

Key Takeaways

  • These are paid before the financial statements and the Annual General Meeting (AGM) release.

  • This type of dividend distribution is based on whether the directors want to do it, along with the shareholders' approval. 

  • The rate of the interim dividend is always less than the final dividend.

  • It is not obligatory to distribute or pay but rather just a benefit or reward solely dependent on the shareholders and the directors.

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Authored & researched by Benet Thomas

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