July 11 (Reuters) - U.S. oil and gas company ConocoPhillips raised its dividend by 4.5 percent, the first hike in more than two years, as it seeks to increase returns to shareholders by shedding assets and boosting output.
ConocoPhillips is selling older, less-profitable assets while investing in high-growth areas such as the oil-producing Eagle Ford formation in South Texas. It is looking to offload its Nigerian assets and will sell its stake in a Kazakhstan oilfield.
The company said it would pay a dividend of 69 cents per share, up from 66 cents a share. The dividend is payable on Sept. 3 to shareholders at the close of business on July 22.
Chief Executive Ryan Lance told investors in February that the company would grow its dividend “over time” as cash flows increase.
Houston-based ConocoPhillips’ first-quarter results met Wall Street expectations and its oil and gas production rose 42 percent in Eagle Ford and Bakken shale in North Dakota and Texas.