VAT’s share price increased during the first six months of 2023, primarily reflecting expectations that the current slowdown in semiconductor equipment spending will reach its bottom this year before returning to growth in 2024. These expectations, together with slowly decreasing inflationary pressure, drove increased buying of semiconductor-related stocks such as VAT, outpacing growth in the broader stock market. With its focus on high-end vacuum valves, VAT is considered a pure play in this segment and, with its global leadership position, a way for investors to participate in the expected industry upturn.
VAT’s share price on June 30, 2023 amounted to CHF 370, corresponding to a total market capitalization of CHF 11.1 billion, about 46% more than at the beginning of the year. The Swiss Leader Index increased by about 7% during that period. Trading liquidity in VAT shares increased from about 80,000 shares a day in the first six months of 2022 to approximately 107,000 shares per day in the first half of 2023.
VAT’s major shareholders
Since the end of 2022, two additional shareholders have disclosed that they own more than 3% of VAT’s outstanding shares. Together, the five shareholders each owning more than 3% of the outstanding shares hold a cumulative position amounting to about 28% of total shares. The free float of VAT shares, as defined by the SIX Swiss Exchange, amounted to approximately 90% at the end of June 2023. The number of registered shareholders was 20,441.
On May 24, 2023, VAT paid its shareholders a dividend of CHF 6.25 per share for the business year 2022, in line with its stated policy to pay a dividend of up to 100% of free cash flow. VAT also expects its dividend for the business year 2023 to be in line with this policy.