Liquidity and Sources of Capital
Our cash balance increased $51,297,000 to $99,068,000 at August 31, 2020 from $47,771,000 at August 31, 2019. The increased cash balance was primarily attributable to cash from operations of $55,734,000, partially offset by a cash dividend payment of $7,539,000. Of the above noted amounts, $42,615,000 and $17,235,000 were held outside the U.S. by Chase Corporation and our foreign subsidiaries as of August 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively. Given our cash position and borrowing capability in the United States and the potential for increased investment and acquisitions in foreign jurisdictions, prior to the second quarter of fiscal 2018, we did not have a history of repatriating a significant portion of our foreign cash. With the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the “Tax Act”) in the second fiscal quarter of 2018, significant changes in the Internal Revenue Code were enacted, changing the U.S. taxable nature of previously unrepatriated foreign earnings. Following the passage of the Tax Act, the Company repatriated $10,499,000 in U.K. foreign earnings in fiscal 2018 and $17,230,000 in fiscal 2019. No additional amounts were repatriated in fiscal year 2020. We do not currently take the position that undistributed foreign subsidiaries’ earnings are considered to be permanently reinvested. See Note 7 — “Income Taxes” to the Consolidated Financial Statements included in this Report for further discussion of the effects of the Tax Act.
Our cash balance increased $12,943,000 to $47,771,000 at August 31, 2019 from $34,828,000 at August 31, 2018. The increased cash balance was primarily attributable to cash from operations of $49,535,000, partially offset by: (a) $25,000,000 in principal debt pay down on debt incurred to acquire Zappa Stewart in the prior year; and (b) a cash dividend payment of $7,522,000.
Cash provided by operations was $55,734,000 for the year ended August 31, 2020 compared to $49,535,000 in fiscal 2019. Cash provided by operations during fiscal 2020 was primarily due to operating income and decreased levels of accounts receivable (resulting from lower sales) and inventory.
Cash provided by operations was $49,535,000 for the year ended August 31, 2019 compared to $46,071,000 in fiscal 2018. Cash provided by operations during fiscal 2019 was primarily due to operating income and decreased accounts receivable, which contracted on lower sales levels. Partially offsetting the overall increase of cash provided by operations were decreased payables.
The ratio of current assets to current liabilities was 7.7 as of August 31, 2020 compared to 6.0 as of August 31, 2019. The increase in our current ratio in fiscal 2020 was primarily attributable to increased cash and cash equivalents, primarily generated by cash flow from operations.
Cash provided by investing activities was $2,077,000 for the year ended August 31, 2020 compared to $2,166,000 in cash used in investing activities in fiscal 2019. During fiscal 2020, cash provided by investing activities was largely due to the net cash received for the sales of the Pawtucket, RI and Randolph, MA locations, partially offset by cash spent on capital purchases of machinery and equipment.
Cash used in investing activities was $2,166,000 for the year ended August 31, 2019 compared to $73,766,000 in fiscal 2018. During fiscal 2019, cash used in investing activities was primarily due to cash spent on capital purchases of machinery and equipment, partially offset by the final escrow payment received by the Company for our April 2017 sale of the fiber optic cable components business.
Cash used in financing activities was $8,420,000 for the year ended August 31, 2020 compared to $33,450,000 used in financing activities in fiscal 2019 and $14,423,000 provided by financing activities in fiscal 2018. During fiscal 2019 and 2018, Chase repaid $25,000,000 and $40,000,000, respectively, on the $65,000,000 it borrowed on its revolving debt facility to substantially fund its purchase of Zappa Stewart in fiscal 2018. Chase also paid annual dividends of $7,539,000, $7,522,000 and $7,497,000 in 2020, 2019 and 2018, respectively.
On November 12, 2020, we announced a cash dividend of $0.80 per share (totaling approximately $7,556,000) to shareholders of record on November 27, 2020 and payable on December 7, 2020.