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Celanese Hikes Dividend by 39%

Zacks Equity Research

Chemical and advanced materials maker Celanese Corporation’s (CE) Board has approved a 39% hike in its quarterly common stock cash dividend to 25 cents per share from the prior payout of 18 cents a share. The raised dividend will be applicable immediately. The hike brings the annual dividend payout to $1.00 per share from the earlier 72 cents per share.

Celanese’s shares gained around 0.4% during the trading session following the announcement. The company’s shares have recorded a one-year return of roughly 24%.

Celanese also announced a quarterly cash dividend of 25 cents per share on its Series A common stock, payable on May 16, 2014, to stockholders of record as of Mar 5, 2014.

The move adopted by Celanese testifies its commitment to boost shareholders’ value by paying back more cash to them from the strong cash flow generated by the company. This action also reflects the company’s balanced capital deployment strategy.

On Apr 21, Celanese reported its first-quarter 2014 results. The company’s adjusted earnings (excluding one-time items) of $1.33 per share were up 16.7% from $1.14 per share reported in the year-ago quarter. The result beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.21 per share.

Profit from continued operations (as reported) came in at $1.25 per share in the first quarter, surging roughly 42% from 88 cents per share posted in the prior-year quarter.

Sales in the quarter were $1,705 million, up 6.2% year over year, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1,682 million.

For 2014, Celanese expects earnings growth of 12% to 14% on the back of company-specific initiatives including innovation and productivity programs consistent with its long-term growth plan. These initiatives are expected to drive earnings growth in 2014.

Celanese currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Other stocks in the chemical industry worth considering include Cabot Corp. (CBT), Methanex Corp. (MEOH) and Huntsman Corp. (HUN), all carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Read the Full Research Report on CE
Read the Full Research Report on MEOH
Read the Full Research Report on CBT
Read the Full Research Report on HUN

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