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DETROIT (AP) — Tesla shareholders on Thursday approved a three-for-one stock split, a move that will make the company’s stock more accessible to retail investors.
Preliminary shareholder vote results were announced at the electric car and solar panel maker’s annual meeting at its new plant in Austin, Texas.
CEO Elon Musk also discussed at the meeting a major expansion of the plant in the future as the company moves towards a manufacturing target of 20 million vehicles a year. It now produces about 1.5 million a year.
Musk said Tesla may announce another factory site this year, and he expects to have a dozen in the future. Currently, the company has assembly plants in Fremont, California; Austin; Berlin and Shanghai. Musk joked that many had suggested Canada as the site for the next new factory.
The company made its 3 millionth vehicle in the past few weeks, Musk said.
Tesla stock closed Thursday at $925.90, down 12.4% so far this year, but it has nearly completed its split itself, falling more than 40% in May after Musk made a $44 billion bid to buy Twitter in April.
Investors feared Musk would be distracted from Tesla if he bought the social media platform.
But Musk backed out of the deal in July, and Twitter sued him to force him to make the purchase. A trial is scheduled for October in the Delaware Chancery Court. Tesla stock began to rally in July, boosted by better-than-expected second-quarter earnings.
Tesla announced plans for the split in late March as shares traded above $1,000. It won’t affect Tesla’s overall market value or its status as the world’s most valuable automaker.
Stock splits are used by companies when their stock price becomes too high for retail investors to buy individual shares, or when a company wants more shares to exist in the market to make the stock more liquid to trade.
Tesla said it was trying to achieve both of these goals: give its employees larger amounts of stock and make stock more accessible to retail investors.
Musk sold some shares of Tesla for the purchase of Twitter and had planned to use other shares as collateral.
Shareholders also re-elected Ira Ehrenpreis and Kathleen Wilson-Thompson to Tesla’s board of directors.
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