Determinants of Dividend Policy in Chinese Firms: Cash Versus Stock Dividends
43 Pages Posted: 27 Sep 2009
Date Written: September 27, 2009
The Chinese market is characterized by state-controlled and closely held firms as well as significant differences in economic development and legal structures at the provincial level and corporate regulations that require firms seeking external financing to show a history of dividend payment. Using a sample of listed Chinese firms, we investigate the likelihood of paying dividends, different forms of dividends and market reactions to various dividend announcements. We find that profitable, low leverage, high cash holding, stronger shareholder protection firms, and those firms with state ownership prior to listing and undertaking subsequent equity offerings are more likely to pay dividends and cash dividends, in particular. Firms appear to cater to investor demands in setting dividend policy; hence firms with a large proportion of non-tradable shares are more likely to pay cash dividends. Consistent with the use of stock dividends to attract the attention of analysts, we also find that growing firms with high levels of retained earnings and greater investment in fixed assets pay stock dividends and these firms’ dividend announcements are associated with significant positive market reactions and increased analyst following.
Keywords: dividend policy, cash dividend, stock dividend, China, emerging markets
JEL Classification: G32, G35
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