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More listed firms split stock to make shares affordable

JIJI

An increasing number of listed companies are implementing stock splits to make their shares more affordable to individual investors.

This year alone, 148 listed companies carried out stock splits or announced plans to do so, according to a Jiji Press survey. Just 139 companies did so in all of 2012.

Companies hope to lower the amount needed to buy their shares as the stock market takes off thanks to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s “Abenomics” economic policies.

Also a factor is the move by Japan’s stock exchanges, including the Tokyo Stock Exchange, to require that listed companies trade shares in blocks of either 100 or 1,000 by next April 1.

Cookpad Inc., which operates a cooking recipe website, plans a 2-for-1 stock split for investors holding shares as of April 30.

“The company aims for a stock price affordable for individuals, who are the main users of our website,” a spokesman said.

Real estate fund operator Ichigo Group Holdings Co. plans to carry out a 200-for-1 stock split and change the trading unit to 100 shares in late August. These measures will halve the minimum amount needed to buy its shares.

“The company wants young people to invest in its shares,” an official said, and it will make it easier to buy its shares even if the price rises.

“Gyudon” beef-on-rice chain Yoshinoya Holdings Co. is eyeing a 100-for-1 stock split and a hike of its trading unit to 100 shares from one, keeping the minimum necessary investment amount unchanged.

Stock splits are expected to continue as the trading unit remains one for many listed companies, especially those on markets for startups.