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48 firms issue bonus shares this year

Kishor Kadam in Mumbai | October 23, 2004 10:25 IST

Corporate India is issuing bonus shares like never before. Indeed, the number of bonus shares issued this calendar year is at a seven-year high. In the nine-and-a-half months since January 2004, nearly 48 companies issued bonus shares, up from 26 bonus issues in the whole of 2003.

In 1997, 45 companies had declared bonus issues. But, the 1995 record of 104 bonus issues is unlikely to be topped this year. In 1996 too, 70 companies issued bonus shares.

Strikingly too, companies have been more liberal with their bonus share issues in 2004. For instance, Infosys Technologies and Jagsonpal Pharmaceuticals have offered three bonus shares for every share held.

Wipro, Alembic, Federal Bank and Kolar Biotech announced two bonus shares for every share held. Twenty-five companies announced a bonus share for every share held.

An industrywise analysis shows that the information technology industry leads in bonus share issues (eight infotech firms declared bonus share issues), followed by the pharmaceuticals industry (7), the fast moving consumer goods industry (2), banks (2) and the paints industry (2).

This year, more bonus issues are in the offing. In the last 2-3 days, the boards of three companies have called a meeting to consider the issue of bonus shares.

On October 26, the board of Matrix Laboratories will consider a stock split as well as a bonus issue. The next day, the IPCA Laboratories board will consider an interim dividend and a bonus issue. And on October 28, the board of Hindustan Sanitaryware will consider a proposal to issue bonus shares.

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