May 15 Chemical maker Ashland Inc raised
its quarterly dividend by more than 50 percent and nearly
doubled its share buyback program, a month after hedge fund Jana
Partners LLC picked up a large stake.
Ashland's board raised the quarterly cash dividend to 34
cents per share from 22.5 cents. This is the highest dividend
the company has paid, according to Thomson Reuters data.
The chemical maker also unveiled a $600 million stock
repurchase plan, replacing a previous program that had about
$330 million remaining.
"We will continue to look for ways to unlock value and
generate significant returns for Ashland shareholders," Chief
Executive James O'Brien said in a statement.
Barry Rosenstein's Jana Partners had said Ashland's shares
were undervalued when it picked up a 7.4 percent stake in April.
The hedge fund, the second-largest shareholder in the
company, has held discussions with Ashland about the company's
business, corporate structure, capitalization, operations,
strategy and future plans.
Jana Partners is also lobbying for change at oilfield
services provider Oil States International Inc