Proposed dividend payment in sesame powder ridiculed

Updated: 2013-04-11 14:45


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BEIJING - A renowned Chinese food maker's proposal to pay shareholders a dividend in the form of its own products has stirred great public curiosity online.

Nanfang Black Sesame Group Co Ltd, known for its cereal-like sesame powder, decided to provide 12 cans of the stuff as a dividend for every 1,000 shares registered before Thursday.

The company announced this peculiar decision on its website on Monday, and it will mark the first time a dividend related to A Shares of Shanghai Stock Exchange has been paid in a form other than cash.

As the biggest shareholder aside from Nanfang itself, China Asset Management Company (ChinaAMC) will receive a total 61,656 cans.

And it is proposed that the biggest private shareholder, Lin Yier, will get 25,548 cans, enough to allow this dubiously lucky investor to eat a can for every meal each day for the next 23 years.

According to Nanfang, none of its biggest shareholders have showed up to apply for the sesame powder, and there will be a final vote on the proposal at a stockholders meeting on April 19.

The announcement inspired much online discussion, with more jokes than praise.

"This is like spending almost 13,000 yuan ($2,077) and getting a gift worth 200 yuan," a microblogger with the screen name "Jiuhengxing" wrote on Sina Weibo, a Chinese Twitter-like microblogging platform.

The company's stocks rose from 10.63 yuan on Monday to 12.97 yuan on Wednesday per share, just before the registration deadline.

Microblogger "Xiangyue" teasingly asked ChinaAMC to "share the cans with its investors, just like Nanfang did, for it is impossible for AMC to eat all the powder itself."

"Renjiansiyuetian" calculated the transportation cost of this "heavy" dividend and concluded it was impractical to distribute.

Microblogger "Sean Wugaosong" continued the tongue-in-cheek tone by suggesting investors opt instead for automobile, real estate and aerospace shares, which may pay dividends in cars, houses and even rockets in future.

Investors in Moutai, China's most famous and valuable liquor brand, also proposed online that dividends from Moutai turn from cash to liquor.

Nanfang bemoaned that "its well-intentioned deed had resulted in sarcasm."

It did have some supporters. "Feiji Jeaty" said, "This paying method will not deny people their rights, and purely offers a bonus with tax."

Microblogger "Zhongxianyuanze", however, regarded the announcement as a "smart" champaign to reward investors, reduce inventories and promote its products at low cost.

Analysts said paying a dividend in products should not be promoted in current context in which Chinese listed companies have not widely established awareness of how they reward investors. Such a deed will further disappoint investors and harm the market, they warned.