Specialty paper maker International Paper (IP 0.57%) announced today its third-quarter dividend of $0.35 per share, a 17% increase in the payout it made to investors last quarter of $0.30 per share. The board of directors said the quarterly dividend is payable on December 16 to holders of record at the close of business on November 15.

The board also declared a regular quarterly dividend of $1.00 per share for the period from October 1 to December 31 on the paper maker's cumulative $4.00 preferred stock, which is also payable on December 16 to holders of record on November 15.

The board further announced that it authorized the company to initiate a $1.5 billion share repurchase program that will run for the next two to three years.

Saying the specialty paper maker remains committed to maximizing value to its shareholders, International Paper Chairman and CEO John Faraci said, "The authorization of this repurchase program and the dividend increase reflect our continued confidence in International Paper's long-term profitability and sustainable free cash flow generation."

The regular dividend payment equates to a $1.40-per-share annual dividend, yielding 2.8% based on the closing price today of International Paper's stock.