GAINESBORO MACHINE TOOLS CORPORATION
Synopsis and Objectives
In mid September 2005, Ashley Swenson, the chief financial officer (CFO) of a large computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) equipment manufacturer needed to decide whether to pay out dividends to the firm’s shareholders, or to repurchase stock. If Swenson chose to pay out dividends, she would have to also decide upon the magnitude of the payout. A subsidiary question is whether the firm should embark on a campaign of corporate-image advertising, and change its corporate name to reflect its new outlook. The case serves as an omnibus review of the many practical aspects of the dividend and share buyback decisions, including (1) signaling effects, (2) clientele effects, and (3) the finance and investment implications of increasing dividend payouts and share repurchase decisions.
How might Gainesboro’s various providers of capital, such as its stockholders and creditors, react if Gainesboro declares a dividend in 2005?
What are the arguments for and against the zero payout, 40% payout, and residual payout policies?
What should Ashley Swenson recommend to the board of directors with regard to a long-term dividend payout policy for Gainesboro Machine Tools Corporation?