1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Dividend according to Nwude (2003) “is the share of the company’s legally available profits divided among the shareholders and received by the shareholders in cash (where cash is paid out) or stock (where stock is paid) or both in other forms of paper claims to wealth”. Dividend is the reward for investing in the company. Dividend plays an important role in determining the value of share in the capital market by investors. Payment of dividends satisfies the residual shareholders’ desires for some return on their investment and increases their confidence in the future of the company in which they invested their money. In addition, every investor by policy is paid dividend at the end of every financial year, net earnings remaining after paying of creditors, tax authorities, expenses, preferred stockholders are paid out as dividends “or shared between retained earnings and cash dividends” or stock dividends. This enhances the firms share value in “capital market as the demand for the stock of such good dividend paying company will increase thereby pushing the share price upwards. This is called demand push share price increase. On the other hand, retained profits can also be reinvested in the company for meeting the expansion needs, profit targets and growth records. Therefore, an effective dividend policy is extremely important for company in its desire to maximize the wealth of its stockholders. Dividend policy, according to Pandey (2003) “is the guiding principle for determining the portion of a company’s net profit after taxes to be paid out to the residual shareholders as dividend during a particular financial year.
The purpose of a dividend policy should be to maximize shareholders’ wealth, which is dependent on both current dividend and capital gains”. What happens to the value of the firm as dividend is increased, holding everything else (capital budget and borrowing) constant. Thus, it is a trade-o between a retained earnings on one hand, and distributing cash or securities on the other as follows: Maintenance of Stable Monetary Amount; the guiding policy is that firms will maintain and pay out to residual shareholders a stable amount in naira value as dividend in spite of the company’s performance during any year. Once that fixed amount is paid out from the earnings available to residual owners, any excess is retained in the business for other investment opportunities. Note: If the fixed amount is greater than the earnings available to residual owners, the deficit could be met from the revenue reserve. The implication is that if a company’s earnings per share is N5 during a year and has the policy of paying N5 divided per share every year, nothing will be left for investment purpose even though there is an investment opportunity existing or showcase. It encourages investors to pay high price for the company stock. Maintenance of Stable Payout Ratio; This is a policy in which the firm decides to pay out a fixed percentage of its net profit as dividends to residual owners. The implication is that it often leads to fluctuation in her dividend policy.
Payment of Extra Dividends Over And Above the Fixed Ratio or Fixed Amount; this policy is an addendum to the maintenance of stable monetary amount and maintenance of stable payment ratio. If the firms make excess of the net profit, the balance can be used to improve or increase the dividend amount payable under fixed rate or used to invest or as a plough-back to the business. Residual Dividend Policy; The decision here is that is to pay out whatever is left over after taken care of the capital requirements of the firms to residual owners as dividend. Therefore, effect of dividend policy on firms earnings in Nigeria will be elaborated upon in subsequent of the project work.
1.2 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
Effects of dividend policy on firms’ earning in Nigeria can be achieved by the selection and adoption of various dividend policy in Nigeria that will lead to improvement in shares and market value of the firms: Find the relationship between dividend policy and the determinant factors of dividend policy. The effect of dividend policy on practicing firms. To make recommendation based on the findings.