Shares of South Korea’s blue-chip bellwether Samsung Electronics on Wednesday received major traction to go higher after the company that finished the fiscal fourth quarter and 2017 at its best offered to split its pricey stock into 50 for every share to raise its accessibility and liquidity.
Shares of Samsung Electronics closed Wednesday up 0.2 percent at 2,495,000 won ($2,336).
A stock split does not affect existing shareholders but pushes up the price of a blue-chip stock as the new issues in cheaper price become more available to new investors.
The 50-for-one split plan that would be placed to shareholders’ vote on March 23 proposes to divide one share to 50 and shave its face value from 5,000 won to 100 won. It will be the company’s first-ever stock split.
If the split is decided at a price of 2.5 million won, Samsung Electronics shares will be newly priced at 50,000 won. The number of common shares would surge to 6,419,324,700 issues from 128,386,494 shares, but market capitalization will stay unchanged.
“The stock split must go through necessary rule changes and procedure of exchanges. The scrip issues would be available by around mid-May,” said an IR official at the conference call.
Also adding to the stock appeal, the company upped cash dividend offering by 1 trillion won from original plan to 5.8 trillion won worth, tantamount to half of the company’s free cash flow at the end of 2017 and 46 percent higher from last year’s payout.
The company has carried out a series of shareholder- and stock-friendly actions since last year, purchasing and cancelling treasury shares worth 9.2 trillion won to bolster the stock value. They resulted in 41 percent jump in the stock price last year.
Separately, the Korean tech giant spent 43.4 trillion won in facility investment last year, significantly up from 2016. It invested about 27.3 trillion won for chip-making business to add a new fab line in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province, to meet the rising demand for VNAND flash memory, and to ramp up foundry production of 10-nano chips. It spent 13.5 trillion won for display sector to increase production of OLED panels.
Its capex plan for this year has not been determined yet, but market experts believe that it would focus its investment on technology development such as artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT).
The immense spending and generous shareholder’s compensations follow an exceptional boom in the global semiconductor industry amid explosive demand for greater memory to power big data, smart applications, and digitalization.
Samsung Electronics Co. confirmed Wednesday record earnings in the fourth quarter ended December last year and for full 2017 thanks to the brisk sales of chips and organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panels.
Its operating profit during the October to December period last year surged 63.4 percent from a year ago to hit a quarterly record of 15.1 trillion won ($14.1 billion). Sales rose 23.7 percent on year to 66 trillion won.
For full 2017, operating profit soared 83.5 percent from the previous year to hit an all-time high of 53.6 trillion won, of which two thirds, or 35.2 trillion won came from selling chips. Revenue totaled 239.6 trillion won, up 18.7 percent. Operating margin reached 22.9 percent for the fourth quarter and 22.4 percent for full 2017. Profit against sales of chips reached 47.4 percent.
The mobile division responsible for smartphone business last year posted the highest yearly revenue of 106.7 trillion won since 2014, but it fell short of market expectations due to the weak sales of low-cost smartphones in the fourth quarter and rise in marketing costs.
By Hwang Hyung-gyu and Choi Mira
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