Hormel Board Approves Two-for-One Stock Split

Following a year of record sales, the Austin-based company wants to increase the number of authorized shares of voting common stock from 400 million to 800 million.

Hormel Foods Corporation on Monday announced that its board of directors has authorized a two-for-one split of the company's common stock.

If approved by stockholders, the split will be the Austin-based company's first in 10 years and the ninth in its history.

The stock split comes at an exciting time for Hormel, one of Minnesota's 15-largest public companies. The food manufacturer surpassed $7 million in annual revenue for the first time in its 119-year history for the fiscal year that ended in October.

Shareholders will be asked to vote on the proposed split during the company's annual meeting on January 31. Under the proposal, the number of authorized shares of voting common stock would increase from 400 million to 800 million. Those holding stock on January 31 would be entitled to receive the split shares-so for each share of common stock held on that day, an additional share would be issued on or around February 14.

Hormel's most recent split occurred on February 15, 2000. From a split-adjusted closing price of $19.69 on January 26, 2000, Hormel's shares appreciated 157 percent to close at $50.65 on December 10, 2010. Over the same period, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index declined 12 percent.

Meanwhile, Hormel's annual cash dividend has grown from 33 cents in 2000 to $1.02 in 2011 on a pre-split basis. Since it became a public company in 1928, Hormel has paid a quarterly dividend without interruption. The last dividend was distributed in November.

“We are excited to announce this proposed two-for-one stock split following a decade of strong performance,” Hormel Chairman, President, and CEO Jeffrey M. Ettinger said in a statement. “This decision acknowledges our track record of providing our shareholders solid long-term returns and demonstrates our confidence that we will continue to grow our sales and earnings in the future. We anticipate this will also put our stock price in a more attractive trading range for a number of individual investors.”

In celebration of Hormel's strong performance of late, it has distributed $21.2 million in bonuses to its 19,500 employees over the past few weeks.