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Some preferred stock has a dividend that increases with the passage of time or upon the occurrence of an event outside of the issuer’s control. Although there may not be a requirement to declare dividends, dividends on cumulative preferred stock should be deducted from earnings available to common shareholders when computing basic and diluted earnings per share, even if undeclared. As a result, an issuer may have an economic incentive to redeem increasing rate preferred stock to avoid the increase in the dividend rate.
The SEC staff addresses the accounting for certain nonredeemable (defined as shares that are not redeemable or redeemable only at the option of the issuer) increasing rate preferred stock in SAB Topic 5Q, which is codified in ASC 505-10-S99-7.

Excerpt from ASC 505-10-S99-7

Facts: A registrant issues Class A and Class B nonredeemable preferred stock on 1/1/X1. Class A, by its terms, will pay no dividends during the years 20X1 through 20X3. Class B, by its terms, will pay dividends at annual rates of $2, $4 and $6 per share in the years 20X1, 20X2 and 20X3, respectively. Beginning in the year 20X4 and thereafter as long as they remain outstanding, each instrument will pay dividends at an annual rate of $8 per share. In all periods, the scheduled dividends are cumulative.
At the time of issuance, eight percent per annum was considered to be a market rate for dividend yield on Class A, given its characteristics other than scheduled cash dividend entitlements (voting rights, liquidation preference, etc.), as well as the registrant’s financial condition and future economic prospects. Thus, the registrant could have expected to receive proceeds of approximately $100 per share for Class A if the dividend rate of $8 per share (the “perpetual dividend”) had been in effect at date of issuance. In consideration of the dividend payment terms, however, Class A was issued for proceeds of $79 3/8 per share. The difference, $20 5/8, approximated the value of the absence of $8 per share dividends annually for three years, discounted at 8%.
The issuance price of Class B shares was determined by a similar approach, based on the terms and characteristics of the Class B shares.
Question 2: Is it acceptable to recognize the dividend costs of increasing rate preferred stocks according to their stated dividend schedules?
Interpretive Response: No. The staff believes that when consideration received for preferred stocks reflects expectations of future dividend streams, as is normally the case with cumulative preferred stocks, any discount due to an absence of dividends (as with Class A) or gradually increasing dividends (as with Class B) for an initial period represents prepaid, unstated dividend cost. Recognizing the dividend cost of these instruments according to their stated dividend schedules would report Class A as being cost-free, and would report the cost of Class B at less than its effective cost, from the standpoint of common stock interests (i.e., for purposes of computing income applicable to common stock and earnings per common share) during the years 20X1 through 20X3.
Accordingly, the staff believes that discounts on increasing rate preferred stock should be amortized over the period(s) preceding commencement of the perpetual dividend, by charging imputed dividend cost against retained earnings and increasing the carrying amount of the preferred stock by a corresponding amount. The discount at time of issuance should be computed as the present value of the difference between (a) dividends that will be payable, if any, in the period(s) preceding commencement of the perpetual dividend; and (b) the perpetual dividend amount for a corresponding number of periods; discounted at a market rate for dividend yield on preferred stocks that are comparable (other than with respect to dividend payment schedules) from an investment standpoint. The amortization in each period should be the amount which, together with any stated dividend for the period results in a constant rate of effective cost vis-a-vis the carrying amount of the preferred stock (the market rate that was used to compute the discount).
Simplified (ignoring quarterly calculations) application of this accounting to the Class A preferred stock described in the “Facts” section of this bulletin would produce the following results on a per share basis:
Beginning of year (BOY)
Imputed dividend (8% of carrying amount at BOY)
End of year
Year 20X1
Year 20X2
Year 20X3
View table
During 20X4 and thereafter, the stated dividend of $8 measured against the carrying amount of $100 would reflect dividend cost of 8%, the market rate at time of issuance.

In contrast to the guidance in ASC 505-10-S99-7, if preferred stock is issued at the redemption amount, dividends should be accrued based on the payment schedule rather than amortized over the life. This is illustrated in Question FG 7-13.
Question FG 7-13
A reporting entity issues perpetual preferred stock and receives proceeds equal to the redemption amount of the shares. The preferred stock pays an at-market cumulative dividend at a rate of 6% for the first five years and a dividend rate of 25% thereafter.

The preferred stock contains a call option that allows the issuer to call the preferred stock at par value at the end of year five before the dividend rate increases.

Is the preferred stock considered perpetual? How should the issuer accrue the dividends on the increasing rate preferred stock?
PwC response
The preferred stock is perpetual. The shares are not redeemable even though the issuer may have an economic incentive to redeem them before the dividend rate increases. The issuer should classify the preferred stock as permanent equity. Mezzanine equity classification is not appropriate since the investor cannot force the issuer to redeem the preferred stock.
Since the preferred stock initially pays an at-market dividend and is not issued at a discount, the dividends should be accrued based on the payment schedule. Therefore, the issuer should accrue 6% per share for the first five years and 25% thereafter until it calls the preferred stock and redeems it.

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