in corporate ownership
management and shareholders.
The Board of Directors, on February 3, 1960, raised the regular
quarterly dividend on the common stock to 373^ cents per share. This
was an increase of 25 per cent over the 30 cents per share paid in previous quarters. The increased dividend was paid on March 1, 1960.
During 1959 four dividends of 30 cents a share each were paid on
March 2, June 1, September 1 and December 1. Regular quarterly
dividends also were paid on the 5% First Preferred Stock, Series A,
and on the 5K% Cumulative Voting Preferred Stock, Series A.
Dividend payments totaled $5,191,253 on all classes of capital stock
in 1959, compared with $5,296,820 the preceding year. There remained $6,391,611 of the 1959 net profit for the operation and expansion of the Corporation, as compared with $5,548,808 in 1958.
There were 3,790,817 common shares outstanding at December 31,
1959, a decrease of 65,349 from a year earlier. This resulted from the
repurchase by the Company of 66,321 shares in the open market. The
Board of Directors, early in 1958, authorized the repurchase of a portion of those shares issued in connection with the acquisition of properties which were later sold. During the year, 972 new common shares
were issued in exchange for Savoy-Plaza, Inc. common stock.
There were also outstanding at the year end 52,900 shares of $100
par value 5% First Preferred Stock, Series A, the same as a year earlier,
and 242,609 shares of $25 par value 53^% Cumulative Voting Preferred Stock, Series A, an increase of 1,190 shares during the 12-month
period. This increase also resulted from the exchange for common
shares of Savoy-Plaza, Inc. This company was merged into the parent
Corporation on December 31, 1958. Owners of 11,419 shares of Class A
and Class B common stock of Savoy-Plaza, Inc. have dissented to the
exchange offer made pursuant to the agreement of merger.
On January 18, 1960, the 53/2% Cumulative Voting Preferred Stock,
Series A, was listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Shareholders
at the 1959 annual meeting cleared the way for this listing by approving
an amendment to the Certificate of Incorporation of Hilton Hotels
Corporation. As a result, a two-thirds vote of the holders of the class
is required for any change in the terms or provisions which would
materially and adversely affect their rights.
Book value per share of common stock at December 31, 1959 was
$24.22, compared with $21.72 a share at the end of the preceding year.
Book value reflects to a large extent the original cost to the Company
of its assets, less accumulated depreciation. Due to rising real estate
values in recent years, a number of our properties are worth substantially more than their book value. Thus there is a greater underlying asset value to each share of common stock than that indicated.
Institutional investors, as well as private individuals, are becoming
increasingly aware of the investment stature and growth potential of
Hilton Hotels Corporation securities. For example, investment trusts,
banks, pension funds and other institutional investors own over 597,000
shares, or approximately 16 per cent of Hilton common stock.