Fiber-optics maker JDS plans third stock split

Supplier to Lucent, Nortel sees stock rise to record $188

Telecommunications

January 04, 2000|By BLOOMBERG NEWS

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- JDS Uniphase Corp., the world's No. 1 maker of parts used in fiber-optic equipment, unveiled plans for its third 2-for-1 stock split since July, sending shares up as much as 15 percent to a record high.

The shares of JDS Uniphase rose $26.6875 to close at $188 in trading of 11.4 million shares. The company said stockholders will receive one additional share March 10 for each share owned March 1.

JDS Uniphase shares have soared more than tenfold in the past year as Lucent Technologies Inc., Nortel Networks Corp. and other telephone-equipment makers have bought JDS Uniphase's lasers and filters for fiber-optic gear that carries traffic or boosts network capacity. Lucent and Nortel are its biggest customers.

"These guys are the arms merchants selling to all of the equipment guys," said J. P. Morgan Securities analyst Charlie Willhoit. "Not many people know how to make optical components, and a lot of people need them."

Last month, JDS Uniphase said it would spend $125 million to add capacity and equipment at several facilities to meet the escalating demand for its products.

On Feb. 25, the company will seek shareholders' approval to increase the number of shares its board may issue from 600 million to 3 billion. The additional shares would be used for the split and "general corporate purposes," which in the past have included stock splits and acquisitions, said Chief Financial Officer Anthony Muller.

"Between July 6, when we closed the merger, and the end of calendar year 1999, we've made six acquisitions and two splits," Muller said. "That's what we use shares for."

The company's shares have surged since January 1999, when Uniphase Corp. said it would acquire Ottawa-based JDS Fitel Inc. The $7.05 billion acquisition was completed in July and Uniphase changed its name.

JDS Uniphase Canada Ltd.'s board also said it would split its shares 2-for-1.

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