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1.1       Background to the Study

The focus on shareholder’s wealth has gained much importance in recent times within the Nigerian financial sector. The reason for this can be traced to the Central Bank of Nigeria reforms, monetary policies and bank recapitalization effects. Other reason for the increase attention to shareholder’s wealth with respect to commercial banks is the intermediary role of bank (Chen, 2006) in the financial sector of the economy and the volume of investors it attracts yearly. In recent times, there have been financial crisis in the world financial sector, especially, in the Nigerian commercial banks. According to Aanu, Odianonsen & Foyeke (2014) some of the problems emanated from unethical and wrong capital budgeting procedures of bank executives. These unethical procedures stem from absence of application of cutting-edge and transparent capital budgeting, inappropriate use of financial options for financing capital projects, and importantly, inability to manage huge capital base (Sanda, Garba & Mikailu, 2011; Al-Matari,  Al-Swidi,  Fadzil, Fadzil & Al-Matari 2012).

It is pertinent to recall that before the recapitalization exercise of 2004; the banking industry was highly undercapitalized. It was encumbered by fragile controls, poor regulatory design, feeble management practices and rampant ill-corporate governance practices. To a large extent, fund performance was just a minute ratio of the banks liabilities (Uchendu, 2005). It was against such background the Central Bank of Nigeria, years’ back, set out the initial stage of reforming the sector to its now diffused and robust state. In the reform process or recapitalization exercise, some commercial banks raised their capital base to N25Billion (twenty-five billion naira) and beyond through funds from the capital market. Banks that fail to raise this stipulated minimum capital requirement of twenty-five billion naira either merged with other banks in similar conditions or were acquired by stronger banks. This development was a watershed in the history of the Nigerian banking industry, especially in the area of increase funds or shareholder’s wealth in the hands of members of board of directors of these banks (Sani, 2009). 

However, the major challenge after the recapitalization was the need to put the funds into good use so as to yield positive returns to the shareholders. Due to the conflict of interest that arises between managers and shareholders because of the increase in gap created between ownership and control of the banks, some of these managers started pursuing their own goal instead of that of the shareholders (Berlet & Means, 1932; Jung, 2015), by embarking on projects without proper appraisal (some of the projects either failed or were abandoned), granting loans to themselves and their allies/related parties without properly mitigating the risk involved; and within a very short time, some of the banks were making losses. As a result, they could not pay dividend, this affected the retain earnings and other shareholders funds, and the market value of the bank shares crashed (Kuye, Ogundele & Otike-Obaro, 2013).

According to Tufuor and Doku (2013), a major thrust of investment managers is the optimization of shareholders wealth in whatever direction they decide to follow. The pursuance of this aim is embedded in some critical decision amongst which is investing decision. Consequently one of the major tools of carrying out this process is through capital budgeting. Capital budgeting is the planning process used to evaluate an organization’s expenditure on assets whose revenue stream is supposed to extend beyond a period of one financial year (Van-Horne & Wachowicz, 2005). According to Froot and Stein (1998), if capital budgeting is appropriately done, it will bring about a huge achievement for any organization. This is due to the well understood potency of capital budgeting decisions in enhancing corporate performance by accelerating revenue stream and increasing the value of stock prices. In addition, capital budgeting can also affect bank financial performance positively if sound investment decisions are made. On the other hand, if poor financial decisions are made, it may amount to financial danger and total bankruptcy. While capital budgeting is the planning process, capital budgeting moderators is the subjective appraisal of a particular project’s taking cognizance of payback, net present value (NPV) of the organization and its internal rate of return (IRR) (David, 2016).

Poor investment decisions in a financial year or period of time will affects a bank’s profitability, retained earnings, dividend payment and may lead to shareholder’s distrust, prompting shareholders to insist on sharing retained earnings and other common wealth. Poor decisions according to Professional Management Education (2010), could be due to lack of subjective appraisal of other capital budgeting factors that encompass management decisions, need of the project, accounting methods, government policy, taxation policy, earnings, lending terms of financial institutions and economic situation on which the project is carried out. Retained earnings as a performance indicator are employed as an in-house and economical path to ensure constant financing of favourable financial openings (Mehar, 2005). Also, financial profitable bank with strong net income could afford more dividend than less financial successful bank (Ahmed & Javid, 2008); thus for the weak bank with poor investment decision, its dividend per share will not be as substantial as that of stronger banks.

The more dividends a bank pays the less capital it will have for investment purposes and the fewer dividends it pays, the more capital it has for investment purposes.  When the dividend is high, it may dampen future business growth because the bank will have less capital to fund new or existing opportunities (assuming it doesn’t raise capital by issuing additional equity). In addition, the bank management may decide to reinvest the surplus into business projects; use it to repurchase their own stock or pay it out to shareholders. Thus a chain reaction may develop when shareholders are more inclined in developing country like Nigeria to share the retained earnings (Roomi, Chaudhry & Azeem, 2011). They may discern that the amassing of retained earnings is at the same amount as dividends, and thus majority of this income are used by the relevant operators to further advance the established rules of the organization.

Making a good investment decision, according to Vineeta (2002), is of foremost weight due to the paucity of funds in firms and also due to the projected gains that may accrue to the firms. The gain from sound investment decisions is easily noticeable in firms not only to boost firm performance and maximize shareholder’s wealth but also ensures an increase in dividend per share and market value. More so, organizational profitability is, most times, determined by the capital expenditure embarked upon by the management of the organization. Vineeta (2002)  wrote that funds sunk into capital expenditure needs to be recouped with profit or else the organization will make loss from the expenditure. Therefore, the procedure of capital budgeting ensures that resources are always apportioned diligently and managers are enabled to channel effort in the direction of positive returns that will recoup expenditure and give a fair return back to the owners of capital that was expended.

According to Omoleyinwa (2000), management can only maximize shareholder’s wealth or serve the best interest of shareholders when they employ the techniques of capital budgeting and critically appraise factors that affect capital budgeting (David, 1997). In addition, management need to maximize shareholder’s wealth by taking some specific actions such as directing shareholders’ funds into good use (investment in profitable capital projects) so that initial outlay will be recouped back as well as profit. It is pertinent that bank management adopt sound capital budgeting procedures and good investment decisions if their aim is to maximize shareholder’s wealth. Sound capital budgeting and good investment decisions entails factoring in external economies and other economic factors which can negatively impacts investment; such as inflation, Political stability, Management attitude to risk and Economic condition (David, 2016). These factors are referred to as capital budgeting Moderators. For instance, if unpredictable inflation is not factored into investment decision, it can affect the evaluation of the actual value of the forecasted prospective cash flow used in investment appraisal. That sum of money advanced at a rate of interest recovered at a pace equivalent to the reported or theoretical rate of interest will not be the same (Bora, 2013).

Political stability and Economic condition are some of the major factors that influence decision on where to invest and the nature of investment to involve in. In an economy where political instability is prominent, viable investment opportunity will be minimal. As such, substantial literature exists, giving weight to the adverse effects of political instability on an expanse macroeconomic variables including, but not limited to, GDP growth, personal investment, and soaring costs (Aisen & Veiga 2013). In Nigeria, for instance, political office holders are changed almost on regular basis, and in some cases, political instability may even lead to chaos resulting in vandalizing business premises.

Furthermore, Bakare (2013), in his work “Investment Climate and the Performances of industrial sector in Nigeria” highlighted further that political situation and economic conditions are some of the factors that affect company profitability and dividend payment. For example, Nigeria is presently designated as a high risk country for huge and stable investment owning to worsening state governance, volatile macroeconomic policies, graft and less than necessary infrastructures among others. The economic condition may be in form of monetary policy decision that affects income rate, which also affects the amount of borrowing, leading to greater effect on investment ventures and the purchase of consumer items. Consequently, due to bad investment climate and political situations innumerable investors have in the past couple of months relocated their businesses away from Nigeria (Nzotta, & Okereke, 2009).

Thus this study focused on whether or not capital budgeting moderators such as inflation, political instability, management attitude to risk and economic conditions as per David (2016) affects shareholder’s wealth maximization such as dividend payment, profitability, retained earnings and market value.

1.2       Statement of the Problem  

According to Jones and Felps (2013), financial economic theory and Shareholders’ Wealth Maximization (SWM) principle are to achieve immediate operating goal, while ultimate purpose is to maximize market value in an organization. In other words, Brealey, Myers, Allen and Mohanty (2012) opined that the best decision is the one that maximizes the wealth of an organization’s shareholders. Thus the best investment decision freely speaking should be the one that generate greater present value of shareholders’ wealth (Copeland & Weston, 1992). Also, the agency theory suggests that the relationship between capital budgeting, it’s moderators and organizational performance or wealth of shareholders is expected to be significant in normal climes. Notwithstanding the assumption of the theory, so many outcomes and empirical results on capital budgeting are at variance to one another, revealing that the relationship is far more complex than earlier thought of. This can be evidenced by the presence of failed or abandoned projects in the banks which further indicates that this is not the case always (Kuye, et. al, 2013). 

The argument between paying dividend as a performance indicator and retained earnings only as adding value to firms’ value was attack by Black and Scholes (1976). According to the authors, “if dividend is irrelevant, why would a privately driven corporations pay dividend? Also, why would investors seek out corporations that are capable of paying dividend yearly”? This fact was confirmed by findings from Osuala (2005), who found that profitability and other shareholder’s parameters affects dividend payments.

Furthermore, some events, during the banking reform exercise, suggested that commercial banks management hardly consider maximizing shareholder’s wealth. In a bid to be seen as being competitive, banks such as the defunct Oceanic Bank Plc acquired International Trust Bank Ltd (ITB) when it is evident that it was not in the best of position to do so at the time the acquisition took place (Kale, Oni & Njugo, 2008). Not too long after the deal, Oceanic Bank Plc itself was acquired by Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI) due to distress emanating from compounded liquidity problem. Funds were wasted by Oceanic Bank Plc in this transaction; but this could have been avoided if the decision had been subjected to a proper capital budgeting analysis (Kuye, et. al, 2013). One reason for this outcome from the investment angle is that the implementation of capital budgeting was a means of coping with acute resource scarcity (Pike, 1986).  Other explanation for the investment failure is that the application of capital budgeting techniques, according to stress hypothesis principle, is in most cases connected with dwindling financial performance (Haka, Lawrence & George 1985); also it is understood that, in practice, wealth may not be created because of internal and external environment factors. Despite the reason proffered for the poor performances of some of these banks, there is still a need to empirically substantiate the sort of relationships that exists between the moderators of capital budgeting and shareholders’ wealth in the commercial banks.

Other contradictory findings between theory and practice in capital budgeting and shareholder’s wealth is that the link between future forecast and its effect on wealth creation for shareholders is more blurred than proposed in literature. It was discovered that higher earnings per share of common stock (i.e., equity) will tend, ceteris paribus, to increase as the invested asset remains viable (Verma, Gupta, & Batra, 2009).  But the projected future earning will entail an inclusion of future forecast, this means taking in inflation, political instability and prevailing economic conditions and any other variable. This might create a situation where there is more than one possible outcome. So the decision to be taken by investment expert is compensation between accepting present gain over uncertain future risk. Since most past study is special in some areas and succeeding or newer studies tells something new or different, it becomes imperative to seek new insight on how moderators of capital budgeting will impact shareholders’ wealth especially in countries like Nigeria where there is a growing need to fill up the scarcity of literature as it pertains to the fundamental issues of capital budgeting moderators and shareholders wealth.

1.3       Objective of the Study

The main objective of this study is to evaluate the effect of capital budgeting moderators on shareholders’ wealth maximization in the Nigerian commercial Banks. The specific objectives are to:

  1. establish the effect of capital budgeting moderators on dividend payment within the Nigerian commercial banks;
  2. assess the effect of capital budgeting moderators on the profitability of Commercial banks in Nigeria;
  3. examine the effect of capital budgeting moderators on the retained earnings of commercial banks in Nigeria and
  4. ascertain the effect of capital budgeting moderators on the value of the shares of commercial banks as listed on the Nigeria Stock Exchange:

1.4         Research Questions

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