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The Value of Imputation Tax Credits on Australian Hybrid Securities

Authors


Stephen Gray
UQ Business School
The University of Queensland
Brisbane, Queensland 4072
Australia
s.gray@business.uq.edu.au

ABSTRACT

Hybrid securities are becoming an increasingly important component of the capital structure of Australian firms. While displaying characteristics of both debt and equity, one principal equity attribute of hybrids is their ability to pay franked dividends. This enables resident domestic investors to claim corporate tax payments as a credit against personal tax obligations under Australia's dividend imputation tax system. This paper estimates a value for the ‘franking credits’ that attach to hybrid securities by examining stock price changes around ex-dividend dates. We add to the literature that examines the ex-day price changes of ordinary shares (OS) in that the hybrid securities we examine have high dividend yields and are relatively insensitive to market movements. Therefore the signal-to-noise ratio is much higher than for OS. Our analysis reveals that cum-dividend day prices on hybrid securities do not include any value for franking credits. This result is consistent with the notion that the price-setting investor in the Australian market is a foreign investor who places no value on franking credits.

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