What happened

BioNTech's (BNTX -4.08%) shares rose higher than that of the Nasdaq Composite index on Tuesday, which is impressive given that the latter vaulted a new all-time record. The company's stock advanced by 4.6% on the back of some happily surprising news for its investors.

So what

In its annual shareholder meeting on Tuesday, BioNTech's COO and CFO Sierk Poetting revealed the company is considering a shareholder dividend. 

"In the next financial year, the Management Board and the Supervisory Board will examine, in accordance with the legal and statutory provisions, whether and in what amount a resolution on the distribution of dividends should be proposed to the Annual General Meeting," he said.

Stethoscope atop a collection of euro notes.

Image source: Getty Images.

Poetting did not speculate about said amount, nor did he provide a more specific time frame. He did point out that, thanks in no small part to the flotation of new stock last year, the biotech's cash and cash equivalents more than doubled year over year at the end of 2020. As of Dec. 31 of that year, they stood at slightly over 1.21 billion euros ($1.44 billion), from the end-of-2019 tally of 519 million euros ($617 million).

Now what

BioNTech is busy developing messenger RNA (mRNA) treatments such as the wildly successful BNT162b2 coronavirus vaccine it collaborated on with Pfizer. While a dividend will make the stock that much more attractive, it likely won't be large, given the ambitious biotech's still-considerable need to spend capital in other areas (notably research and development).