STOCKS NEWS EUROPE-Clariant hits 18-mth high after divi hike

Thu Feb 14, 2013 3:52am EST

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Shares in Swiss specialty chemicals company Clariant rise to their highest level since July 2011 after the company lifts its dividend 10 percent and says it sees stronger profit margins and earnings ahead.

"Despite the short term uncertainty regarding economic prospects we believe that the transformational changes of the group will continue and help drive well above industry average earnings per share growth," says Vontobel analyst Patrick Rafaisz, confirming his buy rating on the company.

Shares rise as higher as 14.25 Swiss francs before coming off slightly to trade up 1.8 percent at 13.67 francs, outpacing a 0.3 percent rise in the STOXX Europe 600 Chemicals Index .

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