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Debt Securities

Why Warren Buffet prefers not to pay Dividends

@WarrenBuffett explains a more reliable method to earn big as a #shareholder of a #company. The sell-off approach

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Warren Buffett

Shareholders in Nigeria are quite used to expecting two types of returns from companies. Dividends (including script) and Capital Appreciation. However, a more reliable method may well be the suspension of dividends and reliance on pure capital appreciation -the Sell Off approach.

No other but Warren Buffet, the sage of Omaha himself, is a proponent of this method. It’s a long read but worth the time. Also, note the assumptions as they are as important as the method itself. He explains it below;

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The Illustration

We’ll start by assuming that you and I are the equal owners of a business with $2 million of net worth. The business earns 12% on tangible net worth – $240,000 – and can reasonably expect to earn the same 12% on reinvested earnings. Furthermore, there are outsiders who always wish to buy into our business at 125% of net worth. Therefore, the value of what we each own is now $1.25 million.

Investment Returns

You would like to have the two of us shareholders receive one-third of our company’s annual earnings and have two-thirds be reinvested. That plan, you feel, will nicely balance your needs for both current income and capital growth. So you suggest that we pay out $80,000 of current earnings and retain $160,000 to increase the future earnings of the business.

In the first year, your dividend would be $40,000, and as earnings grew and the one- third payout was maintained, so too would your dividend. In total, dividends and stock value would increase 8% each year (12% earned on net worth less 4% of net worth paid out).

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 “Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.”[Open Opportunity: Master Financial Terminologies used in Investing in Nigeria]

The Projection

After ten years our company would have a net worth of $4,317,850 (the original $2 million compounded at 8%) and your dividend in the upcoming year would be $86,357. Each of us would have shares worth $2,698,656 (125% of our half of the company’s net worth). And we would live happily ever after – with dividends and the value of our stock continuing to grow at 8% annually.

The Alternative Way

There is an alternative approach, however, that would leave us even happier. Under this scenario, we would leave all earnings in the company and each sell 3.2% of our shares annually. Since the shares would be sold at 125% of book value, this approach would produce the same $40,000 of cash initially, a sum that would grow annually. Call this option the “sell-off” approach.

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The “sell-off” approach

Under this “sell-off” scenario, the net worth of our company increases to $6,211,696 after ten years ($2 million compounded at 12%). Because we would be selling shares each year, our percentage ownership would have declined, and, after ten years, we would each own 36.12% of the business. Even so, your share of the net worth of the company at that time would be $2,243,540.

And, remember, every dollar of net worth attributable to each of us can be sold for $1.25. Therefore, the market value of your remaining shares would be $2,804,425, about 4% greater than the value of your shares if we had followed the dividend approach.

Merit of Warren’s “sell-off” over Dividend

Moreover, your annual cash receipts from the sell-off policy would now be running 4% more than you would have received under the dividend scenario. Voila! – you would have both more cash to spend annually and more capital value.

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Conditions

This calculation, of course, assumes that our hypothetical company can earn an average of 12% annually on net worth and that its shareholders can sell their shares for an average of 125% of book value. To that point, the S&P 500 earns considerably more than 12% on net worth and sells at a price far above 125% of that net worth. Both assumptions also seem reasonable for Berkshire, though certainly not assured.

Warren Buffett

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The Possibilities

Moreover, on the plus side, there also is a possibility that the assumptions will be exceeded. If they are, the argument for the sell-off policy becomes even stronger. Over Berkshire’s history – admittedly one that won’t come close to being repeated – the sell-off policy would have produced results for shareholders dramatically superior to the dividend policy.

Arguments

Aside from the favorable math, there are two further – and important – arguments for a sell-off policy. First, dividends impose a specific cash-out policy upon all shareholders. If, say, 40% of earnings is the policy, those who wish 30% or 50% will be thwarted. Our 600,000 shareholders cover the waterfront in their desires for cash. It is safe to say, however, that a great many of them – perhaps even most of them – are in a net-savings mode and logically should prefer no payment at all.

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Shareholders and cash out

The sell-off alternative, on the other hand, lets each shareholder make his own choice between cash receipts and capital build-up. One shareholder can elect to cash out, say, 60% of annual earnings while other shareholders elect 20% or nothing at all.

Of course, a shareholder in our dividend-paying scenario could turn around and use his dividends to purchase more shares. But he would take a beating in doing so: He would both incur taxes and also pay a 25% premium to get his dividend reinvested. (Keep remembering, open-market purchases of the stock take place at 125% of book value.)

Another downside of dividend approach

The second disadvantage of the dividend approach is of equal importance: The tax consequences for all taxpaying shareholders are inferior – usually far inferior – to those under the sell-off program. Under the dividend program, all of the cash received by shareholders each year is taxed whereas the sell-off program results in tax on only the gain portion of the cash receipts.

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Personal Illustration

Let me end this math exercise – and I can hear you cheering as I put away the dentist drill – by using my own case to illustrate how a shareholder’s regular disposals of shares can be accompanied by an increased investment in his or her business. For the last seven years, I have annually given away about 41⁄4% of my Berkshire shares.

Through this process, my original position of 712,497,000 B-equivalent shares (split-adjusted) has decreased to 528,525,623 shares. Clearly my ownership percentage of the company has significantly decreased.

The Magic and How it Works

Yet my investment in the business has actually increased: The book value of my current interest in Berkshire considerably exceeds the book value attributable to my holdings of seven years ago. (The actual figures are $28.2 billion for 2005 and $40.2 billion for 2012.) In other words, I now have far more money working for me at Berkshire even though my ownership of the company has materially decreased.

It’s also true that my share of both Berkshire’s intrinsic business value and the company’s normal earning power is far greater than it was in 2005. Over time, I expect this accretion of value to continue – albeit in a decidedly irregular fashion – even as I now annually give away more than 41⁄2% of my shares (the increase having occurred because I’ve recently doubled my lifetime pledges to certain foundations).

[Bonus: How to transfer money abroad from Nigeria]

What do you think? Is this possible in Nigeria? Are our companies that reliable when it comes to consistent earnings growth? Which company comes to mind?

Patricia

Nairametrics is Nigeria's top business news and financial analysis website. We focus on providing resources that help small businesses and retail investors make better investing decisions. Nairametrics is updated daily by a team of professionals. Post updated as "Nairametrics" are published by our Editorial Board.

9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. d4gmail

    October 5, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    Seriously only accountants will understand what this Guy had just tried to explain. Ugo, will you explain better?

    • ugodre

      October 5, 2013 at 2:23 pm

      Oh really! I thought it was easy to understand. Which part don’t you understand??

  2. Cobichi

    October 5, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    It looks good on paper. But I don’t think the Nigerian market is that mature. In my opinion the price will follow a jigsaw, can’t consistently rise without a hope of dividend. Transcorp is an example

    • ugodre

      October 5, 2013 at 11:20 pm

      He actually doesn’t recommend his method considering that the companies he invests him pay him dividends. The point however is that companies need not pay dividends if they can assure shareholders of a constant earnings growth which is reflective in share price growth as well. Berkshire promises that and so does Apple and Microsoft!

  3. d4gmail

    October 8, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    Hmmm. Thats coool.

  4. Tolu

    October 20, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    The ‘sell-off’ approach is good. But the question is Can Nigerian firms compound Net Value at 12% annually? I doubt it.

    • ugodre

      October 21, 2013 at 3:34 am

      I doubt it too. Even Warren Buffet himself doesn’t expect company’s in America to return 12% CAGR. Only BH which he manages obviously guaranties that.

  5. Femi

    July 19, 2019 at 3:44 pm

    Hmm. I just learnt something new.

    But how is the sell-off approach described above different from or similar to a situation where companies pay out a small percentage of their profit as dividend and reinvest the remainder into the business in order to take advantage of future opportunities?

  6. AYINDE Akinsola D.

    July 22, 2019 at 3:23 pm

    The fact that dividend irrelevance policy worked for Berkshire doesn’t mean to be the best for all companies.
    Circumstances makes it so, some of which are:

    1. Different rate of tax on dividend and capital gains tax:
    To avoid Capital Gains Tax, an investor will only need to hold the shares till death after which the value of the stocks becomes cost to the beneficiary. This means all the capital gains will not be taxed.

    2. The class of investors:
    Investors of Berkshire are high net-worth individuals that doesn’t need to sell to eat. unlike retail and petty holders that will resort to selling of stocks/ shares to make living. Also, the shares are held by few and not many shareholders.

    3. Major shareholder:
    Finally, the major shareholder of Berkshire is Warren Buffett who believed in the theory/ policy and doesn’t sell shares like other investors in other companies. He also doesn’t have needs to sell Berkshire stocks/shares. so, the price remain more stable as investors only purchase the stocks as family investment and not for trading.

    These three cases makes it possible for Berkshire to be stronger on the policy of capital gains as against dividend payout.

    Meanwhile, we might need to wait for life of Berkshire after the pass-on (to the great beyond) of the Oracle of Omaha. The
    continuity of no dividend payout depend on whether the next chairman/ owner of Berkshire Hathaway believe in the policy
    and can hold it like the real man.

    Thanks.

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Debt Securities

FMDQ admits Axxela funding of N11.5 billion bond on its platform

FMDQ explained that Axxela Funding 1 PLC is a special purpose vehicle incorporated by Axxela Limited.

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AFEX to partner with FMDQ and Dubai Commodities Exchange

The FMDQ Group, through its subsidiary, FMDQ Security Exchange Limited, has admitted the Axxela Funding 1 PLC N11.50 billion Series 1 Bond on its platform.

According to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), this was disclosed by the FMDQ Group in a statement that was issued on Thursday, July 9, 2020, in Lagos.

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The statement explained that FMDQ admitted the N11.5 billion Series 1 Bond, which is under the Axxela Funding N50 billion bond programme on its platform.

FMDQ explained that Axxela Funding 1 PLC is a special purpose vehicle (SPV) incorporated by Axxela Limited to raise funds through the issuance of debt securities in the domestic capital market.

READ MORE: Nigeria’s Capital Market: Equities, ETFs, Bonds and Beyond

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According to the statement, “Axxela Limited, owned by Helios Investment Partners, is a natural gas shipping company on the West African Gas Pipeline, providing unique energy solutions with presence in Nigeria and gas export operations in neighbouring West African countries.

“The admittance of the Axxela bond is testament to the opportunities which the Nigeria Debt Market Capital (DCM) avails to corporates in diverse business areas and further, to the potential of the market to support stakeholders effectively even as they carry on their activities in the face of the pandemic.

“The Axxela bond, by its listing on FMDQ, shall be admitted onto the FMDQ Daily Quotations List; thus, promoting the much-needed transparency for investors and providing a credible basis for portfolio valuation daily.

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“Also, through the global visibility which the FMDQ website and systems guarantee, the corporate profile of the issuer is raised even further ahead of tapping into other opportunities in the Nigerian capital market.”

READ ALSO: NSE’s Oscar Onyema urges market operators to explore opportunities in Finance Act

The FMDQ in its statement revealed that the Nigerian Debt Capital Market plays an important role in the efficient mobilization and allocation of resources in the economy. Despite the impact of the current economic crisis, the market had continued to effectively support corporate firms looking to expand their business operations.

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Therefore, the FMDQ, in its role as a market organizer of the Nigerian Debt Capital Market, amongst others, has continued to provide stakeholders in the Nigerian capital market with a credible and robust platform for capital access, risk management and transfer of value.

This means that Axxela Series 1 Funding will have the opportunity to global visibility through FMDQ Exchange’s website and systems.

The Series 1 bond would be included in FMDQ Daily Quotations List, in order to ensure and maintain information transparency.

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Patricia
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Debt Securities

Covid-19: Companies raise N222 billion in capital during lockdown

Corporate organizations successfully raised at least N222.6 billion from the 24th of March till date.

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Covid-19: SBM Intel lists out industries that may be out of business post Coronavirus

The COVID-19 pandemic is unarguably the greatest disruption of recent times. Not only has the world been faced with the existence of a real-life plague, but its impact has also been felt across industries, economies, markets, and more. Yet, corporate organizations successfully raised at least N222.6 billion from the 24th of March till date, covering the toughest periods of the economic impact of the pandemic itself as well as the pandemic-induced lockdown.

Across the world, businesses and companies alike have sought out ways to curb the menace that is the pandemic through the introduction of cost-cutting measures to withstand the storm. However, in the midst of this, an array of companies have also sought out ways to raise finance to ensure their sustainability while also leveraging the relatively cheap opportunity to raise capital.

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READ ALSO: NSE promotes gold as viable option in the current investment landscape

Increase in Listing

Data from the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) reveals corporate bodies and the government have raised capital and facilitated secondary market trading activities worth over N1.8 trillion. A number of securities have also been listed on FMDQ. Methods used cut across Rights Issues, private placements, bond listings, etc., and they have been supposedly geared towards supporting working capital needs of the organizations, facilitating business expansion and more.

Listings over the period include; LAPO Microfinance Bank’s bond worth N6.2 Billion, NewGold ETF valued at N7 Billion, UACN Property Development Plc’s N16 Billion Rights Issue, Dangote Cement Plc’s bond worth N100 Billion, FBNQuest Merchant Bank’s Series-1 N5Bn Bond, Flour Mills’ N30 Billion Series 13 & 14 Commercial Paper programme, Primero BRT Securitisation SPV Plc bond worth N16.1Bn Bond, and the Golden Guinea Breweries Plc’s private placement of N1.2 Billion. Also listed are MTN Nigeria Communications plc’s proposed series of N50 billion and Transcorp Hotel’s N10 billion Rights Issue.

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In addition to this, several Government Bonds worth over N797 Billion have also been listed within the past few months. Other companies have also listed capital financial issues include Guinness Nigeria (N5 billion) and United Capital (N20 billion) through commercial papers, also offering low-interest rates to suit the overall trajectory of the economy.

READ MORE: Lafarge Africa hits 5 year low as NSE ends week in the red

The amounts raised

Of the various amounts listed over the same period, Flour Mills has raised N7 billion. FBNQuest Merchant Bank’s 5 billion issuance was 2.3 times oversubscribed but news reports are not clear as to how much was actually received; UACN Property Development raised N16 billion; Dangote Cement was 1.5 times oversubscribed, raising N155 billion; The Golden Guinea Breweries, Primero BRT Securitisation SPV, and NewGold ETF were all 100% subscribed at  N1.2 billion, N16.1 billion, and N7 billion respectively. United Capital raised N5.3 billion in Commercial paper issuance and N10 billion in its Series 1 Bond issuance, and LAPO Microfinance is ongoing. This brings the total amount raised in the period to at least, N222.6 billion.

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The attraction with raising capital in a COVID-19 era

The pandemic has brought about the world’s worst statistics and Nigeria is no exception with rising inflation juxtaposed with lower-than-normal interest rates – and that appears to be the catch. A common phenomenon across these bond listings is that many have been oversubscribed despite COVID-19 headwinds. In other words, with very limited opportunities available across markets, investors have rushed at many of these bonds at their comparatively low coupon rates. Given that these investments are locked at fixed interest rates, companies now have the opportunity to piggyback growth strategies on affordable capital raising. With investors, on the other hand, grappling for opportunities to shield their funds from inflation, the situation appears to take the semblance of a win-win situation.

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Debt Securities

Why interest rates on treasury bills, bonds crashed

The yoyo between debt and equity is likely to ensue as uncertainty remains in the forex market.

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Why interest rates on treasury bills, bonds crashed

The Nigerian debt market has been faced with a series of challenges, most of which were triggered by the worst pandemic recorded in human history Its prospects in attracting foreign portfolio investors were dampened as macros on Nigeria’s economy revealed a downtrend in the market, and this trend has only worsened in the past months. 

The fixed income market sustained its downward trajectory for the third consecutive month in June 2020 largely driven by excess liquidity as well as an overall scarcity of instruments in the market. Reports from several analysts indicate the demand for fixed income securities has increased considerably over the last 6 months driving down interest rates earned by investors. 

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Victor Silas an Investment analyst told Nairametrics about the OMO bills liquidity for the month of June. He said“For June, fixed income rates were liquidity-driven following the ban of locals from OMO and limited investment outlets. OMO bills maturities are creating more liquidity for locals and it is finding its way to the bond market and Treasury bill.   

READ MORE: How to invest in uncertain times

“The 2050 trading below 11% yield and the 364-day Treasury bill closing at 3.4%. It just tells you there are a lot of liquidity concerns for locals.” 

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Most foreign portfolio investors based abroad are staying out of naira debt dominated securities; this shows that Nigeria’s debt markets are now controlled by local investors.  

Nigeria attracted just $67.9 million in Foreign Portfolio Investment (FPI) inflow for the month of April 2020, the lowest inflow recorded this year. A cursory look at the Central Bank data shows that FPI sharply reversed from $2.30 billion at the beginning of the year (January) to just $67.9 million inflow in April 2020. Nigeria like most emerging markets relies heavily on foreign portfolio investments to shore up its external reserves and manage its exchange rate position.   

Portfolio inflow into money market instruments fell from N1.6 billion and N1.4 billion in January and February respectively to just N229 billion and N49 million in April and May respectivelyOn the flip side, those that still have their investment stuck in Nigeria, have stayed away from any other type of investment except money market instruments such as bonds and treasury bills.  Most of the investors are waiting patiently for the central bank to fund their dollar purchase so they can exit. 

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READ MORE: Nigeria’s pension contributors add N100billion to pension asset

Issuers Market 

Emmanuel Orji Emerging Market/ Fixed Income Trader, COMERCIO PARTNERS spoke to Nairametrics on the performance of fixed income securities in June. He said;  

“Subsequently, the unexpected reduced sale at the June bond auction of NGN100 billion as against the NGN150 billion originally offered further strengthened the aggressive bullish run in the bond market.  

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“The bond auction closed relatively strong as a result, with a bid to cover ratio of 3.6x and rates declining by 120bps, 70bps, and 45bps to print at 8.00%, 11.00%, and 12.15% across the 3-year, 5-year, and 30-year maturities respectively.  Note: BPS refers to basis points, a financial term for percentages. 100 basis point is equal to 1%. 

READ ALSO: Nigeria’s foreign debt has breached a 15-year trigger

“As a result, yields for the benchmark securities monitored declined across all maturities on a month-on-month basis, with yields of the sovereign bonds with 3-year, 5-year, 10-year and 20-year maturities declining by 332 bps, 138 bps, 96 bps, and 138 bps to close at 5.64%, 7.13%, 9.76%, and 10.05% respectively.  

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“Given the amount of idle PFA cash sitting in bank placement (c. NGN1.5 trillion) and the sudden weakness in demand for equities, we expect the buying interest to persist in the near term, which should drive yields lower in the bonds market.”  

Nigerian fiscal stakeholders have resorted to borrowing domestically as opposed to seeking for funds abroad, another effect of the pandemic. This is expected to lead to an increase in the yields of FGN bonds in the short and mid-term horizon as the inward plan to seek funds locally intensifies. 

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Where this leaves equities  

Concomitantly, the equities market benefitted from the apparent thirst for asset yielding investments in recent months. As yields for safer investment fell, investors shifted to the equities market taking advantage of the earning season often market by dividend payouts. Most stocks paid dividend yields in double digits following the stock market crash in March 2020.  

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But by June the market sell-offs ensued with investors moving funds out to secure stakes in corporate debt securities. The yoyo between debt and equity is likely to ensue as uncertainty remains in the forex market and the country’s stimulus plans.  

Some retail investors who spoke to Nairametrics insist they have abandoned the Nigerian Stock Market preferring to trade in cryptocurrencies or US stocks. The proliferation of intech supported investing apps has made cross border investing easier providing access to market far beyond the shores of Nigeria. 

 

Patricia
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