Share Repurchase And Taxation Among The UK Companies

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The aim of the research project is to examine the relationship between share repurchase and taxation in the UK companies.

Project Objectives

To examine the motivations of share repurchase in the United Kingdom. To analyze the recent trend in share repurchases over last 20 decades among UK companies. To explore the relationship between shares repurchase with taxation in the UK companies. To explore the impacts of taxation on share repurchase activity for UK companies

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Context

For decades, most of the corporations are preferred to pay out cash in the form of dividends rather than share repurchases, despite the relative tax advantage of capital gains over ordinary income. In some countries, such as U.S. and UK, companies can buy back their own shares in the stock market, also known as a share repurchase. In the last 20 decades, share buybacks become extremely popular in the United States. According to aggregate data from Compustat, companies announced share repurchases increased from 4.8 percent in 1980 to 41.8 percent in 2000, while dividends only grew at an average annual rate of 6.8 percent (Grullon & Ikenberry, 2002). Researchers also found that during 1985 to 1999, corporations in the U.S. announced intentions to repurchase about $750 billion of stock (Vermaelen & Rau, 2002). Moreover, studies show that from 1999 to 2000, industrial firms spent more money on share repurchases than on dividend pay out, and that is the first in history, share repurchases programs have become more popular than dividends (Grullon & Ikenberry, 2002). What are the reasons for the companies buy back their own shares. Jensen (1986) pointed that firms repurchase stock to distribute excess cash flow. A share repurchase distributes cash to existing shareholders in exchange for a fraction of the firm’s outstanding equity. This hypothesis has been supported by Stephens and Weisbach’s (1998) study. They found share buy backs have a positive relationship with the level of corporation cash flow. Moreover, they also found a negative relationship between share repurchase and prior stock returns, which means, firm repurchase when their share prices are undervalued in stock market. This theory has been supported by Vermaelen’s (1981) study. He found that firms repurchase stock when they are undervalued and have the excess cash to distribution. In later studies, researchers pointed that firms may repurchase stock to increase their leverage ratio (Opler and Titman, 1996). For the tax perspectives, researchers pointed that tax changes have a major impact on share repurchase. In the UK, companies are sensitive to tax environmental changes. For example, studies shows that in 1994, there were significant increase in the number of open-market stock repurchase programs. This cause by the introduction of tax favored agency share repurchases programs (Vermaelen & Rau, 2002). But in 1996, when the tax credit given to tax exempt pension funds in agency buybacks was abolished,

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