Shares of Wowprime Corp. higher on dividend proposal
CNA, TAIPEICNA, TAIPEI--Shares of Wowprime Corp., one of Taiwan's leading restaurant chain operators, moved higher Saturday after the company's board proposed issuing a dividend of NT$14.67 (US$0.50) for 2012, dealers said.
February 25, 2013, 12:05 am TWN
The buying also reflected investors' optimism about the restaurant chain operator's bottom line after the company, which runs more than 10 brands, including its flagship Wang Steak, posted higher earnings last year, they said.
As of 1:10 p.m., shares of Wowprime had added 2.7 percent to reach NT$438.00. The benchmark weighted index on the Taiwan Stock Exchange was up 0.39 percent at 7,987.59 points.
“It seems that investors are happy with Wowprime's dividend proposal as the company will give away almost all of the earnings it posted last year to shareholders,” Grand Cathay Securities analyst Mars Hsu said.
As many foreign investors were away from the trading floor for the weekend, Hsu said the buying largely came from local investors.
The local bourse opened Saturday to make up for the reduced number of working days due to the Feb. 9-17 Lunar New Year holiday.
In a board meeting held Friday, Wowprime proposed issuing a dividend for 2012, which will be comprised of NT$13.67 in cash dividend and NT$1 in stock dividend. The proposed 2012 dividend was higher than the NT$10.24 issued in 2011.
In 2012, the restaurant chain operator recorded NT$1.05 billion in net profit or NT$15.69 in earnings per share, hitting a record high in the company's history. The 2012 figures were higher than the NT$772.99 million in net profit or NT$12.71 registered a year earlier.
According to Wowprime, consolidated sales in its operations in Taiwan for 2012 rose 25.76 percent from a year earlier to NT$9.68 billion, while its consolidated revenue in its operations in China gained 37.19 percent to NT$2.62 billion.
As of the end of January, the restaurant chain operator owned 279 stores across the Taiwan Strait with 227 in Taiwan and 52 in China. The company is planning to boost the number of its total outlets to 393 by the end of this year.
To his knowledge, Hsu said, Wowprime's sales growth largely resulted from its efforts in opening new stores. Sales growth in existing outlets, however, almost stayed flat, Hsu said.