Chipotle announces a 50-for-1 stock split

The fast-casual Mexican chain is also giving general managers and longtime employees a one-time equity grant. The stock split, the company's first in its history, will take place in June.
Chipotle will give shareholders on June 25 50 shares for each share they own. | Photo courtesy of Chipotle Mexican Grill.

Chipotle’s stock value has increased so much that the company is splitting it in 50.

The Newport Beach, Calif.-based Mexican chain on Tuesday announced the first stock split in its history, a 50-for-1 split. If approved by shareholders at the company's annual meeting June 6, it would also be one of the largest stock splits in the history of the New York Stock Exchange, the company said.

Shareholders as of June 18 will receive 50 shares for every 1 share they hold on June 25. In the process, that will cut the per-share price by 50. At $2,800, for instance, the per-share price would be about $56. The company’s value remains the same because there are more outstanding shares available for trade.

Chipotle also said that it plans to reward its general managers and employees with more than 20 years of service with one-time equity grants.

The 3,400-unit fast-casual chain has been one of the industry’s biggest success stories on Wall Street since McDonald’s spun it off in an IPO in 2006. The chain’s stock went public at $22 and doubled on the first day of trading.

A $1,000 investment in Chipotle at the IPO price is now worth $127,162.

The company’s shares have hit a series of all-time highs this year as Chipotle has generated strong sales, revenue and profitability. Same-store sales in the fourth quarter rose 8.4%, the company said in February. Restaurant-level operating margins last year were 26.2% of revenues.

“We believe this will make our stock more accessible to employees as well as a broader range of investors,” CFO Jack Hartung said in a statement.

Indeed, by pricing shares in the $50 to $60 range rather than the $2,800 range, smaller-scale investors, including many younger Chipotle customers and fans, might be able to purchase shares, not to mention employees.

As for the equity grants, CEO Brian Niccol said the grants are meant to honor general managers and longtime employees “for their hard work and dedication to Chipotle” and to provide “an additional incentive to continue delivering outstanding results.”

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