Ashland Raises Dividend by More Than 50%, Launches New Buyback Program

Ashland (NYSE: ASH  ) is aiming to fatten the bank accounts of its shareholders. The company has declared a quarterly dividend of $0.34 per share of its stock, to be dispensed on June 15 to shareholders of record as of May 31. This amount is more than 50% higher than Ashland's most recent distribution of $0.225, which was paid in March.

The new dividend annualizes to $1.36 per share. That yields 1.5% at the firm's current stock price of $90.02.

Additionally, the company's board authorized a new stock repurchase program, effective immediately. The amount is $600 million, or almost double what remains under the previous buyback scheme. The program is in force until Dec. 31, 2014.

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