Stock buyback more likely than acquisition - Dow

24 April 2008 17:35  [Source: ICIS news]

NEW YORK (ICIS news)--Dow Chemical is moving closer to increasing its share buybacks, rather than making a large acquisition as it approaches the close of its joint venture with Kuwait's Petrochemical Industries Co (PIC), the company CEO said on Thursday.

“Frankly, the share buyback option becomes more and more probable as the Kuwait deal looms to close,” said chairman and CEO Andrew Liveris during the company’s first-quarter earnings conference call.

“But we are going to preserve our options in case one of the targets we’ve been interested in for years becomes more realisable.”

US-based Dow is on track to close its joint venture with PIC before the end of the year, said Liveris. On closure of the deal, Dow will receive $9.5bn (€6bn) in cash from PIC.

Liveris earlier had said Dow would seek to make a major acquisition in the speciality chemical arena, but that it would be highly selective.

“We’ve made a number of smaller acquisitions, and the probability is that they will stay small until the right big opportunity presents itself,” said Liveris.

“As we approach the close of the Kuwait deal, it increases the probability that more share buybacks will become a reality, and we’re fine with that.”

US-based Dow repurchased 10.8m shares in the first quarter for about $410m. Since the first quarter of 2006, the company has bought back 61m shares for a total of $2.5bn.

($1 = €0.63)

By: Joseph Chang
+1 713 525 2653

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