The effective date of Woodward and Lothrop Inc.'s 3-for-2 split of common stock was reported incorrectly in an article yesterday. Distribution will be made July 29 to shareholders of record as of July 8.
Directors of Woodward & Lothrop Inc., in a move widely anticipated in the investment community, approved a three-for-two split of the company's common stock yesterday and declared a regular quarterly dividend of 30 cents a share.
Stockholders in Washington's largest department store chain will receive an additional share of common stock for every two shares they own, in a distribution to be made July 29 to owners of record on June 8. The stock split will not change the par value of its common stock, Woodies said.
In addition to declaring the dividend on the common stock, Woodies directors also declared a regular quarterly dividend of $1.25 a share on the preferred stock, both payable on Sept. 1 to shareholders of record on Aug. 12.
The regular quarterly dividend of 45 cents a share on the common stock (adjusted to reflect the three-for-two stock split) is at the same rate as that paid for the previous quarter, the company said. With the stock split, the total dividend will be $1.20 a share instead of $1.80 a share.
Commenting on the stock split, Woodies' Chairman Edwin K. Hoffman said it will "enhance the marketability of the company's stock and broaden its distribution, both of which we consider in the best interests of the shareholders."
The average price of Woodies' common stock last year was $31.50, compared with $28.63 in 1981. But from a closing bid of $34.50 at the end of last year, Woodies' stock climbed to $60 bid on June 20. It closed at 58 1/2 bid, 59 1/4 ask yesterday in over-the-counter trading.
With the three-for-two split, Woodies' stock will be available at a more attractive price for considerably more shareholders, even though there had been substantial trading activity in recent months, said Eliot H. Benson, director of research at Ferris & Co. Daily volume had tapered off in the past few days, however, and there was a lull in demand, Benson added.
"As these prices rise, you get that action. At a lower price, the stock is more attractive to a broader market," Benson explained.
Although company officials gave no indication that a split would be forthcoming, some analysts and stockholders had anticipated yesterday's vote by the board. Responding to a stockholder's question about a possible stock split at the company's annual meeting earlier this month, Hoffman said management had scheduled a meeting with investment bankers to discuss the issue.
Robert J. Mulligan, Woodies' vice chairman, reiterated yesterday that the reason for the split "frankly is to get more stock out in the public's hand and make trading easier."
In the meantime, Benson said, Woodies' earnings picture remains "magnificent." Sales increases through the first three weeks of June, he added, grew at a rate greater than either of the sales gains recorded in this year's first quarter and in May.
Without any new stores added to the chain, "it shows they're getting increased productivity out of each store," Benson said. "You can see some very major earnings for Woodies in the next fiscal year. We look for earnings this year of $5 to $5.50 a share." Woodies reported net income of $4.39 a share in 1982.