by Gwen Moritz
Posted 7/20/2011 08:44 am
Updated 11 months ago
Bank of the Ozarks Inc. announced Tuesday a two-for-one stock split effective Aug. 16 for shareholders of record Aug. 5.
The split will be the third for BOZ stock (Nasdaq:OZRK) since its initial public offering 14 years ago and the first stock split - not including ominous reverse splits - by an Arkansas company since Murphy Oil Corp.'s two-for-one split in June 2005. Bank of the Ozarks stock previously split in June 2002 and December 2003.
The stock opened at $53.47 on Wednesday morning, up more than 1 percent from Tuesday's closing price of $52.80.
"This declaration reflects our Board's confidence in our ability to drive long-term value to our shareholders and recognizes our Company's strong market performance and continued growth prospects," Chairman and CEO George Gleason said in a press release announcing the split. "The decision to declare a two-for-one stock split will allow us to maintain a market price for our stock that is affordable and accessible to a wider range of investors and to increase our overall shareholder base and liquidity in our stock."
The split follows closely two other positive announcements by the fast-growing Little Rock bank holding company. A week ago, BOZ announced second-quarter earnings of $50.2 million, a 361 percent increase from the comparable period in 2010 thanks to two FDIC-assisted acquisitions in Georgia. And on July 1, the board of directors announced a 19-cent per share cash dividend payable later this week, an increase from 18 cents per share last quarter and the sixth increased dividend in the past seven quarters.