InterviewDow dividend ‘very safe’ despite yield

02 December 2008 21:33  [Source: ICIS news]

By Joseph Chang

 NEW YORK (ICIS news)--Dow Chemical’s quarterly dividend is “very safe,” despite a dividend yield over 9%, said chairman and CEO Andrew Liveris on Tuesday.

 A high dividend yield suggests investors are sceptical it can be maintained. When the dividend yield is high, it means the stock price has fallen, and that investors do not think a company can maintain the current dividend.

Dow’s quarterly dividend is 42 cents (€0.33), making for an annual payout of $1.68. At Monday’s closing price of $17.93, the stock had a dividend yield of 9.4%. 

“What a fantastic deal for anyone who wants to buy Dow stock with an over 9% dividend yield,” said Liveris in an interview with ICIS.

“The decoupling of the equity markets from reality is ludicrous,” he added.

“The worst signal in the world is to cut the dividend to get the yield down to a more market-reasonable yield,” said Liveris.

 “A lowering tide will bring down all boats, but I think we’re higher up in the water because we have a better balance sheet, good cash flows, cash from the Kuwait PIC [Petrochemical Industries Co] venture and incredibly important synergies coming from the Rohm and Haas deal,” he added.

 Dow Chemical will have a debt/capital ratio in the low 40% range following the Rohm and Haas and PIC deals, said Liveris.

 “There’s no reason for us to cut the dividend. I’m not going to be the first CEO at Dow Chemical to do that. I understand why people ask that, but the answer is an emphatic ‘no’,” he added.

 On 20 November 20, US-based specialty chemical firm Ashland cut its quarterly dividend by 73% to 7.5 cents – a level “currently more consistent with the specialty chemical sector,” said the company. The stock price subsequently plunged 25% that day to $10.72.

To discuss issues facing the chemical industry go to ICIS connect
For more on Dow Chemical visit ICIS company intelligence


By: Joseph Chang
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