US Dow may raise dividends as it seeks to reward shareholders

31 January 2013 17:23  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US-based Dow Chemical may increase dividend again – bringing it closer to pre-crisis levels – as rewarding shareholders was one of the three goals stated on Thursday for the company's use of cash.

Dow plans to use cash to shore up its balance sheet, to reward shareholders and to grow organically, said Andrew Liveris, the company's CEO.

Liveris made his comments during an earnings conference call.

The CEO maintained the company's goals for using cash, which also ruled out mergers and acquisitions (M&A).

In the past several months, Dow has increased its dividend, bringing it closer to its 42-cent level. Dow had lowered the dividend in response to a series of crises.

Dow had lowered its dividend to 15 cents from 42 cents in 2009. At the time, Dow was struggling with uncertain credit markets, unprecedented lower demand for chemical products, the global recession and what it called "pending business issues".

Specifically, Dow was intent on preserving its investment-grade rating while completing its acquisition of Rohm and Haas for $78/share.

By 12 February 2009, Dow's stock had dipped below $10.

Dow ultimately completed the Rohm and Haas deal, and its stock has since risen from its lows in 2009.

The company increased its dividend in April 2011, when it rose by 67% to 25 cents/share from 15 cents/share.

Dow increased it again in April 2012 by 28% to 32 cents/share.

In mid morning, Dow's stock was trading at $32.88/share, down by 5%.


By: Al Greenwood
+1 713 525 2645



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