COVID-19 AND DIVIDENDS: EVIDENCE FROM POLAND
Name and surname of author:
Kamil Gemra, Piotr Kwestarz, Waldemar Rogowski, Mariusz Lipski
Dividend, stock prices, COVID-19
DOI (& full text):
This paper aims to examine the impact of an unexpected change in the level of dividend caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on share prices on the Polish stock exchange. Our article analyses…more
This paper aims to examine the impact of an unexpected change in the level of dividend caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on share prices on the Polish stock exchange. Our article analyses the period from 1 February 2020 to 5 June 2020, which was when companies listed on the primary market of the Warsaw Stock Exchange (WSE) published information about Boards of Directors’ dividend recommendations for 2019. The original group of companies included 140 firms. 56 companies (40%) fulfilled all the study criteria, and these were subsequently divided into 2 groups. The groups were defined by the recommendations on profit distribution. The first group consisting of 38 companies (68% of the surveyed) consisted of firms which unexpectedly announced plans to retain all profits in the company or a dividend payment but with a lower value than in the previous year (cancellation or reduction of the dividend amount). The second group of 18 companies (32% of the surveyed) comprised those which unexpectedly announced willingness to pay a dividend per share at a higher level (increase in dividend amount). The research confirmed that the announcement of a change in the level of the dividend or the cancellation of the payment of profit is essential price-creating information on the Polish securities market and has a significant impact on the share prices. In a situation of uncertainty caused by external factors, such as the coronavirus pandemic, the sensitivity of individual companies to lockdown and uncertainty as to the return to normality have a significant negative impact on the market. They cause a fall in the share prices higher than expected, especially when they are accompanied by a shortage of information from the companies and a recommendation to suspend or reduce dividend payment.