Miami-based Benihana, operator of one of the largest chains of Asian restaurants in the US, has announced a 15% stock dividend in Class A stock on both the Class A and common shares.

The company's board of directors declared that the dividend is payable on 12 August 2002 to holders on record 15 July 2002.

"This declaration, the first stock dividend by Benihana in its 38-year history, has been initiated to help further enhance the market liquidity of our shares," said Joel A. Schwartz, president.

The board anticipates future stock dividends to increase the market liquidity of the company's shares, subject to market conditions, the company's financial condition and the price level of the company's stock.

Benihana operates 61 restaurants nationwide, including 54 Benihana teppanyaki restaurants, five Haru sushi restaurants and two Doraku restaurants. In addition, it has 18 franchised teppanyaki restaurants operating and two additional franchised restaurants under development. Two new Benihana teppanyaki restaurants currently are under development.