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EMS-Chemie Rises to 23-Year High on 43% Dividend Increase

EMS-Chemie Holding AG rose to the highest in more than 23 years for a second consecutive day as the Swiss chemical producer said it would raise the dividend 43 percent after high-performance plastics sales bolstered profit.

EMS climbed as much as 4.1 percent to 244.40 Swiss francs, the highest since at least Oct. 24, 1989, based on closing prices, and was trading up 1.2 percent at 4:01 p.m. in Zurich. Volume amounted to 53 percent of the three-month daily average.

Full-year earnings before interest and taxes rose 8.4 percent because of “lucrative business” selling polymers for smartphones like Samsung Electronics Co.’s Galaxy SIII, EMS Chief Executive Officer Magdalena Martullo-Blocher said at a press conference in Zurich. Herrliberg-based EMS plans a dividend of 7.50 francs a share and a 2.50-franc extraordinary dividend, compared with 7 francs a year earlier.

EMS showed “robust margins, rock-solid balance sheet and top-line growth even in adverse market conditions,” Patrick Rafaisz, an analyst at Bank Vontobel AG, said in a report to clients. “Although the shares may react positively today, we clearly need better earnings growth prospects to justify these levels,” said Rafaisz, who has a reduce recommendation on EMS.

Ebit and net sales will probably rise slightly this year, Martullo-Blocher said. The company will expand the sales and development workforce 14 percent and add high-performance polymer production capacity in 2013, she said.

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