ST. JOHN’S STOCK TO SPLIT 2 FOR 1 TO AID LIQUIDITY

NEW YORK — St. John Knits Inc., whose stock has more than tripled since its initial public offering in 1993, said Wednesday it plans a 2-for-1 stock split.
The split will be distributed May 6 to shareholders of record April 8. St. John currently has 8.2 million shares outstanding.
Roger G. Ruppert, senior vice president of finance and chief financial officer, said the company’s stock is thinly traded and the split will improve liquidity.
He also pointed out that many of its shareholders are St. John customers and reducing the price of each share will make it easier for them to buy in round lots.
St. John, based in Irvine, Calif., went public at $17 a share in March 1993, and the shares closed at 64 1/8 Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange, up 1 3/8.
In St. John’s fiscal year ended Oct. 29, earnings climbed 30.8 percent to $19.6 million, or $2.38 a share, as sales grew 26.4 percent to $161.8 million. In its first quarter ended Jan. 28, earnings surged 43.1 percent to $5.7 million, or 69 cents a share, with sales running ahead 24.7 percent to $45.3 million.

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