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Dow Chemical raises dividend 28 pct., to 32 cents

Thu, 04/12/2012 - 5:46pm
The Associated Press

Dow Chemical Co. said Thursday that it is raising its quarterly dividend by 28 percent, a little more than a week after announcing it will eliminate 900 jobs and close several plants.

The Midland, Mich., company will increase its dividend to 32 cents from 25 cents. It is payable July 30 to shareholders of record on June 29.

On April 2 Dow said it planned to eliminate 900 jobs, close four plants and idle a fifth because of the weakening European economy. It is closing plants in Portugal, Hungary, Brazil, and Charleston, Ill., and idling a facility in the Netherlands. It said the changes will reduce its costs by about $250 million per year.

Dow is the largest chemicals maker in the U.S., and its products are used in nearly every part in the economy. That means Dow is often the first to feel macroeconomic shifts. The company was ravaged during the global economic crisis that struck in 2008, and cut more than 10,000 positions as a result. Dow currently employs about 52,000 people worldwide.

Companies have been paying higher dividends recently. About three-fourths of the dividend-paying companies listed on the Standard & Poor's 500 are making greater payouts this year than in 2011. S&P Indices expects those companies to pay a total of $277 billion in dividends, a record.

In March a group of major banks moved to restore their dividend payments after cutting them during the financial crisis. Also last month, Apple Inc., the most valuable company in the world by market cap, said it will resume paying a dividend for the first time in almost 20 years.

Shares of Dow Chemical rose 80 cents, or 2.5 percent, to close at $32.67. The stock added 88 cents to $33.55 in aftermarket trading.

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