Nestle India's Recent Share Split, Splitting Potential for MRF?

Imagine your favourite chocolate becoming 10 times more shareable! Nestle India surprised everyone on Jan 5 by splitting its expensive ₹27,000 shares into 10 affordable pieces at ₹2,700 each. Now, India's sixth most expensive stock is 90% cheaper, making it way easier for regular folks to join the investment party. It's like turning a luxurious treat into a snack for everyone! 

Nestle India's Recent Share Split

What is Stock Split?

A stock split occurs when a company raises its share count to enhance stock liquidity. Despite the increase in the number of outstanding shares by a specific multiple, the overall value of all outstanding shares stays constant since a split doesn't alter the value of the company fundamentally. The typical split ratios are 2-for-1 or 3-for-1 (expressed as 2:1 or 3:1), signifying that for each share held prior to the split, each shareholder will own two or three shares, respectively, post-split.

How Does Stock Splits Work?

A stock split is like when a company decides to give additional shares to its shareholders based on the ones they already have. They do this to make the share price more affordable for regular folks and to make it easier to buy and sell the shares.

Imagine you have one share of a ₹1,000 stock. The company might decide to do a 3-for-1 stock split. This means for every one share you have, now you'll get three shares. So, you still have the same total value of shares, just split into more pieces.

Even though the number of shares increases, the total value of all the shares stays the same. So, if the old share was ₹1,000, after the 3-for-1 split, the new price per share would be ₹333 (₹1,000 divided by 3). The company's overall value doesn't change, it just makes the shares more affordable for everyone.

Stock Split - Everything you need to know

Advantages of a Stock Split

1. Enhancing Accessibility for Investors

  • Companies opt for stock splits when their share prices are high, making it costly for investors to acquire a standard board lot of 100 shares.

  • Lowering the per-share price through a split makes the stock more affordable for a broader range of investors.

2. Boosting Liquidity and Facilitating Trading

  • A higher number of shares outstanding after a split can lead to increased liquidity in the stock.

  • Improved liquidity benefits both buyers and sellers, making trading easier and potentially narrowing the bid-ask spread.

3. Cost-Effective Share Repurchases

  • Companies with more liquid stocks can repurchase their shares at a lower cost.

  • Increased liquidity means that buying and selling won't significantly impact the stock's price, making share repurchases more cost-effective.

4. Positive Impact on Investor Sentiment

  • Although a stock split theoretically doesn't affect a stock's value, it often sparks renewed investor interest.

  • The positive effect on investor sentiment may lead to a temporary boost in the stock price.

5. Bullish Signal and Executive Confidence

  • Stock splits by blue-chip companies are considered a bullish signal for investors.

  • Viewed as a company's desire for future growth, a stock split generally indicates executive-level confidence in the company's prospects.

Will MRF ever Opt for a Share Split?

MRF, a significant player in the market, with each share trading at around ₹1.3 lakh. The question arises: should MRF consider a stock split, bonus shares, or introducing new classes? In the realm of stock splits, where Nestle India recently made a move, the common ratios of 1:5, 1:10, or 1:20 are considered. However, a 1:20 split may present challenges, reducing the face value to an incomplete ₹0.5. Alternatively, a 1:10 split, similar to Nestle India's recent move, could be a viable option, bringing the face value to ₹1.

Looking at bonus shares, proposing 19 shares for every MRF share is one alternative. Yet, even with this bonus, the resulting share price could remain relatively high, around ₹5,500. Unconventional ratios like 1:39 or 1:49 are considered, but their impact on dilution is noteworthy. Traditionally, stock splits and bonuses aim to improve liquidity, making shares more accessible to retail investors and fostering higher trading activity.

However, the decision becomes more intricate when considering whether MRF desires heightened trading or prefers attracting long-term investors. Lessons from Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway highlight how strategic decisions around shares can impact investor perception and long-term growth. As MRF potentially navigates a scenario where a fund might invest exclusively in its shares, the company must weigh the balance between attracting diverse investors and maintaining a high share price to discourage haphazard trading. The choice between a split, bonus, or introducing new classes emerges as a pivotal aspect of MRF's strategic vision and long-term objectives.

The Bottom Line

The path ahead for MRF's share strategy promises a mix of excitement, careful consideration, and a dash of financial wisdom. Only time will reveal the next chapter in MRF's financial narrative, stay tuned for the twists and turns.