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Journal of Applied Accounting Research ; 24(2):299-317, 2023.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-2269174


PurposeThis paper examines whether ownership type has a moderating influence on dividend payouts during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis with respect to changes in profits. Future uncertainties because of the pandemic will result in a perceived need for liquidity within the company, but retaining cash may be risky for shareholders who could look for less risky alternatives. The dividend payout strategy is thus even more closely related to the overall type concentration and strategy of the owners during the crisis.Design/methodology/approachThe effects are explored and tested on early data from 2019 to 2020 of Finnish companies using ANCOVA while controlling for profitability and sector variables.FindingsA significant effect on dividend payout during the COVID crisis was found when the companies are dominantly held by individual owners validating early suggestions on such an influence. Therefore, this study contributes further to the academic debates on the influence of ownership concentration in times of crises. This study lists certain sectors which experience diminished profits during such a crisis which pinpoints sector separation in future discussions.Research limitations/implicationsThis study explores early data from a specific context in the Nordic countries. However, it does so out of purpose as explained in the paper.Practical implicationsOwnership type and concentration matters when it comes to dividend payout decisions under uncertainty with regard to changes in profit. Investors need to accept these behavioural insights into their decisions.Originality/valueThis study examines the signalling effect of dividends by analysing how actual or anticipated change in profitability due to a crisis is reflected by owners and leads to dividend payout decisions under uncertainty.