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LyondellBasell Bumps Up Dividend, Announces Share Buyback

LyondellBasell’s LYB board has declared an interim dividend of 85 cents per share ($3.40 per share on an annualized basis), a 9% rise from first-quarter 2016 dividend of 78 cents. The dividend will be paid on Jun 7, 2016, to shareholders of record as of May 24, 2016.

Separately, the chemical major’s shareholders, at the Annual General Meeting, approved a new share buyback program, authorizing it to buyback up to 10% of its shares over the next 18 months.

The dividend hike and new share buyback program testify the company’s sustained commitment to maximize returns to shareholders. LyondellBasell has returned over $21.6 billion to its shareholders through dividends and share repurchases over the last five years. The company had around 426 million shares outstanding as of May 11, 2016.

The Netherlands-based company’s shares closed around 0.7% lower to $80.72 last Friday. The stock is down roughly 6% year to date and around 20% over a year.

LyondellBasell’s adjusted earnings for first-quarter 2016 topped the Zacks Consensus Estimate.  However, revenues fell by double digits year over year on declines across all businesses and missed expectations.

LyondellBasell bought back 12.3 million ordinary shares during the quarter and paid dividends worth $336 million. The company returned roughly $1.3 billion to its shareholders in the form of dividends and share repurchases in the first quarter.

LyondellBasell continues to benefit from the favorable North American natural gas environment. It should also gain from its ethylene and polyethylene expansions.

The company is executing its expansion projects to leverage the U.S. natural gas liquids (NGLs) advantage. It remains on track with its multi-plant ethylene expansion programs across Channelview, La Porte and Corpus Christi facilities in Texas which benefit from shale gas production.

However, the low oil price environment remains a headwind for the company. Its operations are also subject to maintenance outages.

LyondellBasell is a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Better-ranked companies in the chemical space include Akzo Nobel N.V. AKZOY, Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical Co. Ltd. SHI and Koninklijke DSM N.V. RDSMY, all sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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LYONDELLBASEL-A (LYB): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
SHANGHAI PETROC (SHI): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
KONINKLIJKE DSM (RDSMY): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
AKZO NOBEL NV (AKZOY): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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