Coca-Cola recommends stock split to keep shares affordable

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April 25 (Bloomberg) -- Coca-Cola Co., the world’s largest soft-drink maker, voted to recommend a two-for-one stock split to keep the shares available to smaller investors.

The split would increase the number of authorized shares of common stock to 11.2 billion from 5.6 billion, Atlanta-based Coca-Cola said today in a statement. The split would be the 11th in the stock’s 92-year history and the first in 16 years.

“It makes the stock more affordable to probably smaller investors,” Jack Russo, an analyst at Edward Jones & Co. in St. Louis, said in an interview. The split indicates that Coca-Cola “does care about its mom-and-pop investor base,” said Russo, who advises buying the shares.

Coca-Cola rose 0.9 percent to $74.79 at 10:21 a.m. in New York. Through yesterday, the shares had gained 96 percent from a close of $37.85 in March 2009, their lowest close in the past five years.

Shareholders are scheduled to vote on the measure at a special meeting on July 10, Coca-Cola said. Each shareholder of record on or about July 27 will receive one additional share of common stock for each share held. The new shares are expected to be distributed on Aug. 10.

Coca-Cola last week reported that first-quarter net income rose 7.9 percent to $2.05 billion, or 89 cents a share, topping analysts’ estimates for profit of 87 cents. Revenue advanced 5.9 percent to $11.1 billion, helped by pricing increases and demand in North America, the company said in a statement.

Coca-Cola owns the Dasani water, Powerade and Minute Maid juice brands.

Bloomberg News

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