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LyondellBasell to Buy Back Shares, Boost Dividend

May 22 (Bloomberg) -- LyondellBasell Industries NV, the world’s largest producer of polypropylene, plans to repurchase as much as 10 percent of company shares and increased the quarterly dividend as low-cost raw materials boost cash generation.

Company directors authorized the buybacks after the plan was approved by shareholders at the annual general meeting in Rotterdam, where the company is based, LyondellBasell said today in a statement. The quarterly dividend will increase 25 percent to 50 cents a share, said LyondellBasell, which is run from Houston.

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jim Gallogly is investing in added production of ethylene and plastics to take advantage of low-cost natural gas liquids that helped boost cash from operations by 67 percent last year to $4.79 billion. The repurchase of 10 percent of the 575.3 million shares outstanding would cost $3.74 billion at the $65.07 closing price in New York.

“The 10 percent share repurchase program and the significant increase in the regular interim dividend is reflective of our outlook, capital growth program, strong free cash flow profile,” Gallogly said in the statement.

The buyback was announced after the close of regular trading in New York, where LyondellBasell rose 1.9 percent to $66.29 at 4:34 p.m.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jack Kaskey in Houston at jkaskey@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Casey at scasey4@bloomberg.net

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