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International Paper Considering Higher Dividend This Year

International Paper Co., the world’s largest maker of cardboard packaging, will consider raising its dividend this year after record 2012 cash flow, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John Faraci said.

International Paper will probably have sufficient cash flow from operations to support the higher payout, Faraci said today in a telephone interview. The Memphis, Tennessee-based company had record full-year cash flow from operations in 2012, buoyed by the acquisition of Temple-Inland Inc., which was completed last year, he said.

“I would expect we would be looking at making a recommendation to our board about the dividend later this year,” Faraci said.

The company, which currently has a quarterly dividend of 30 cents a share, is estimated to maintain that level in its next projected action in May, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. International Paper boosted the dividend 14 percent last year.

International Paper’s fourth-quarter net income fell 16 percent to $235 million, or 53 cents a share, from $281 million, or 65 cents, a year earlier, the company said today in a statement. Profit excluding pension expenses, restructuring costs and other one-time items was 69 cents a share, topping the 65-cent average of 12 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Fourth-quarter sales rose 11 percent to $7.08 billion from a year earlier, topping the $6.95 billion average of nine estimates.

International Paper fell 0.5 percent to $41.90 at the close in New York. The shares have increased 35 percent in the past 12 months.

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