Scrip dividends

The following Corporate practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Scrip dividends
  • Why offer, or choose, a scrip dividend?
  • Structure of a scrip dividend
  • Authorising a scrip dividend
  • Articles of association
  • Disapplication of pre-emption rights and need for allotment authority
  • Listed companies: additional requirements
  • AIM companies: additional requirements
  • Dividend Procedure Timetable
  • Investor guidelines
  • More...

Scrip dividends

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Following the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the London Stock Exchange released a notice to give companies guidance on the deferral and cancellation of dividends. For more information on this guidance, see Dividend Procedure Timetable below. Over the coming weeks and months, an increasing number of UK companies are expected to seek to preserve their cash by suspending and/or cancelling dividends. For an examination of the relevant law, guidance and practice, see Q&A: Can a company suspend or cancel a dividend in the light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic? For further details of the impact of COVID-19 more generally, see Practice Note: Coronavirus (COVID-19)—key issues for Corporate lawyers.

Dividends involve a distribution of cash or a distribution of non-cash assets (known as a distribution in kind or a distribution in specie).

A scrip dividend (in a tax context, sometimes referred to as a stock dividend) allows a shareholder to receive new shares in a company as an alternative to a cash dividend.

In relation to dividends and distributions generally, including the relevant statutory requirements, see Practice Note: Dividends and distributions.

Why offer, or choose, a scrip dividend?

The principal reasons for a company to choose to offer a scrip dividend alternative to a cash dividend are that, if a shareholder elects to receive a scrip dividend:

  1. the company retains the cash it would otherwise have paid out by

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