A very exclusive club…

March 24, 2006

The March 6, 2006 post on Berkshire Hathaway (BRK) noted that the company, along with Longview Fibre (LFB) and Southern Copper (PCU) were the only three New York Stock Exchange listed companies that did not issue stock options to management and directors. The list was compiled by downloading a file from Value Line that showed average shares outstanding and fully diluted shares. If the numbers were the same, they met the criterion. I knew that I was just making a stab, but I was confident that the authoritative list was very small.

Well, Equilar has generously come to the rescue and more accurately defined the club as NYSE companies that have not granted equity to Named Executive Officers (options, stock appreciation rights or restricted stock) for the last 3 years. In some cases, options are still outstanding that were issued before 2003. Here’s Equilar’s Gold Star additions to the original list:

Downey Financial (DSL)

NBTY (NTY)

Pilgrims Pride (PPC)

Volt Information Sciences (VOL) (none for the last 2 years)

Weis Markets (WMK)

Just to put this in perspective, that makes a total of 8 NYSE-listed companies out of 2,684 listed on the exchange as of early March. Do the math and it works out to 0.3%, which makes these 8 companies part of a very exclusive club.

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