LyondellBasell to hike dividend payout by 60 per cent

LyondellBasell today said its supervisory board has authorised the company's management board to declare a dividend of $0.40 per share, an increase of 60 per cent from the $0.25 per share quarterly dividend paid in the first quarter of 2012.

The dividend of $0.40 per share will be paid on 11 June 2012 to shareholders of record as of 21 May 2012, subject to the adoption of a resolution by the management board, which is expected on 21 May, the company said in a release.

"The 60 per cent dividend increase reflects our significant operational and commercial improvements over the past two years coupled with our most recent debt restructurings.

The refinancing of our debt, significant reduction in interests costs and our strong balance sheet and credit metrics support this increase to our previously-targeted range of a 3-4 per cent dividend yield," said Karyn Ovelmen, LyondellBasell's executive vice president and chief financial officer.

"We believe the increase to $0.40 per share quarterly dividend puts our dividend at an appropriate and sustainable level given our current and future cash needs, balanced with our free cash flow profile. Going forward, we would expect to target sustainable and steady dividend growth over time,'' said chief executive Jim Gallogly.

''With regard to future excess cash, this level of regular dividend provides us the flexibility to continue to invest in the company, pursue disciplined growth and to optimise cash return to shareholders with potential special dividends and/or share buybacks," he added.

LyondellBasell is one of the world's largest plastics, chemical and refining companies. The company manufactures products at 58 sites in 18 countries.