Kulicke & Soffa delivers 2-for-1 stock split

Chip-equipment maker Kulicke & Soffa rewarded its investors late Monday when it announced a 2-for-1 stock split, its first in nearly five years.

Company officials said the split will take effect July 31 for all shareholders of record on July 17.

Kulicke & Soffa (Nasdaq: KLIC) shares closed off 2 5/8 to 60 ahead of the news.

It and other chip-equipment vendors, such as Applied Materials (Nasdaq: AMAT), Novellus Systems (Nasdaq: NVLS), KLA Tencor (Nasdaq: KLAC) and Lam Research (Nasdaq: LRCX), have watched their respective stock prices soar in lockstep with increasing demand for high-speed telecommunications and PC chips.

In its latest quarter, Kulicke & Soffa topped Street estimates when it pocketed $22 million, or 80 cents a share, on sales of $222.2 million.

The stock is trading at a relatively inexpensive price-to-earnings ratio of 39.

First Call Corp. consensus expects it to rake in $1.06 a share in its third quarter and $3.70 a share in the fiscal year.

On June 13, the Willow Grove, Pa.-based company landed its second $29 million contract with Advanced Semiconductor Engineering to build bonders used in the production of microprocessors.

Its shares moved up to a 52-week high of 87 5/16 in March after wilting to a low of 19 1/8 in August.

All 12 analysts following the stock rate it either a "buy" or "strong buy."

Kulicke & Soffa last split its stock 2-for-1 in July 1995.